Home > On-street food services in Dublin: a review.

Higgins, Mary (2021) On-street food services in Dublin: a review. Dublin: Dublin Region Homeless Executive.

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This review was commissioned by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to review the operation of on-street services in Dublin. These services have become established in the last five years or so and operate on the main streets of the city, providing food, toiletries, and clothes to people who are homeless. The purpose of the review was to improve knowledge and understanding of the operation, motivation, and impact of the services in order to inform deliberations about their future operation. It was based on consultation with homeless services, officials, policy makers, regulators, businesses, and residents of private emergency accommodation. Just four on-street services participated.

1. Take immediate action to address risks of on-street services. Establish a working group of relevant statutory bodies to decide how to address the risks posed by on-street services including enforcement of existing regulations, the introduction of new ones and mechanism for managing these into the future.
2. Establish what needs are met by on-street food services. Engage with on-street services and their users, to better understand what needs are being met and more appropriate and sustainable ways to meet them. Needs appear to relate to poverty, exclusion, addiction, and mental ill health and public bodies with responsibility for these should be centrally involved in the exercise.
3. Explore a future role for on-street volunteers. The potential for the people who have been active in the on-street services to become involved in delivering homeless or other services as part of a formal operating framework should be explored with them, as a means of harnessing the commitment and energy demonstrated by on-street services.
4. Prepare a strategy for the management of outdoor spaces in the city. The strategy should be interagency and focused on the management of outdoor public spaces, with a clear vision for how the city should be for residents, workers and visitors and the standards they should expect in terms of space, safety, and conduct.
5. Enhance standards of services for people who are homeless. Develop new standards that are not just about the provision of food, but about dignity and nurture; not just about hostels but about safe and appropriate hostels; not just about interventions but about effective interventions that are demonstrably person centred and effective in supporting people out of homelessness. 
6. Introduce licensing for services for people who are homeless. A licensing system, based on compliance with the strengthened standards should be introduced and applied rigorously to all services, to ensure the quality of services and that those not compliant with them are not permitted
to operate.
7. Improve public information about homelessness. The activities of on-street services have demonstrated that homelessness is not well understood particularly in terms of its causes, solutions and state interventions. Official communication in the form of flat statistics is not sufficient to convey a true picture of needs and responses and it is recommended that public information about the issue should be improved to provide an understandable narrative on its complexities and dynamics and links with its underlying causes of poverty, exclusion, addiction and other disabilities, and how these can be addressed to prevent a continuation of homelessness.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Guideline, Report
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
October 2021
51 p.
Dublin Region Homeless Executive
Place of Publication
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