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Pocket packs provide a lifeline to homeless people


Public Health Agency

Type: News
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

The Public Health agency (PHA) and the Council for the Homeless NI (CHNI) are working together to provide 'pocket packs' to vulnerable homeless people in Belfast.Rough sleepers are at increased risk of problems including substance misuse and exposure to cold weather which can result in problems with foot health, chest infections and hypothermia. The PHA and CHNI are working in partnership with Extern's SUITCASE members, who have themselves, experience of substance misuse and homelessness, to assist rough sleepers in the Belfast area by providing pocket packs.The packs are designed to provide vital assistance to people who are sleeping rough to reduce the impact of the cold and wet weather, to maintain hygiene and keep a record of important information such as appointment times with GPs and emergency contact numbers. They contain a foil blanket, raincoat, hygiene items and pencils and paper.  The packs have been designed to be small enough to be carried in the pocket of a coat. The pocket sized pack is useful as it is easily transportable and does not easily identify the person as homeless, avoiding any risk of stigma.A SUITCASE member said "We saw the rough sleeper packs at a conference and brought a couple back to show the other members of our group. We all thought they are a good idea and we know people would use them because they are small but have everything you would need if you were out on the streets."Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA said; "We are delighted to be involved in this project as it will make a real difference to the lives of homeless people.  These small packs have great potential to maintain health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of ill-health, as a result of exposure. They will assist rough sleepers to maintain hygiene and therefore their self-esteem and respect."The pocket packs will be distributed to vulnerable people sleeping rough or in crisis accommodation around Belfast via the members of SUITCASE who have close contact with various homeless people and the local organisations which support them including outreach services.





Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Public Health Agency. (2013) Pocket packs provide a lifeline to homeless people [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 18th April 2019].


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