AT a recent community policing meeting, councillors and public officials were presented with concerns about the presence of ‘rough sleepers’ around Waterford city.
At the Waterford Community Safety Partnership meeting, members of the public submitted questions to be read in the public forum.
One pressing question was about the ongoing issue of ‘rough sleepers’ occupying shopfronts and spaces around the city.
Director for Housing, Community and Emergency Services Ivan Grimes responded to the question and spoke of the complexity of the issue.
He said: “The situation as it stands is that there are a large amount of people who appear to be rough sleeping but the reality is that it’s a handful of individuals.
“This small group of rough sleepers that we know of have refused to engage with local homeless services.”
He continued: “Last winter with the cold weather there was significant pressure on hostels here in the city too and anybody who turned up at the door was permitted.
“We endeavour to have a homeless outcome where there are no rough sleepers, but unfortunately in a small number of instances, particularly people of non-national background, who just simply refuse to engage with people like ourselves.”
The representative Garda confirmed that the police were working with local agencies to help with the issue of rough sleepers.
Community representative Michelle Byrne asked Mr. Grimes if language barriers were at play with individuals refusing assistance.
Mr. Grimes confirmed that interpreters were present to help people access local services.