Welcome delivers a range of services for homeless people and rough sleepers in Belfast - the drop-in centre, a street outreach service and the Divis emergency crash bed facility for women. Their primary aim is to reduce the number of people sleeping rough and help rough sleepers move off the streets in Belfast.
The reasons why people sleep rough are varied but they include alcoholism, drug addiction and mental illness. Some people have a single issue but many others have several problems. For example, many people with an alcohol or drug addication also suffer from mental illness. Yet there are others who do not drink or use drugs and whose plight is entirely the result of mental illness.
Some can be picked up and are willing to go into crisis accommodation overnight. Others refuse but can be helped out with a warm drink or some food.
Welcome is one of a number of organisations that work in this field. Recently I also visited the Depaul hostel for alcoholics, which is. in the docks area, and also the Depaul day centre in Londonderry.