A Galway-based charity has appealed to the public not to give money to people sleeping rough in the city, but instead encourage them to avail of emergency accommodation.

COPE Galway says a new initiative to deal with the issues facing rough sleepers means more than 30 beds are being made available every night between now and the end of April.

More than two thirds of these are located at COPE's Teach Corrib centre in the Newcastle area of the city.

Three prefabricated buildings have been specially repurposed there, to contain seven beds each.

The cold weather response initiative also involves the Galway Simon Community.

With the number of rough sleepers in the city on the increase, COPE's Assistant CEO Martin O'Connor said every effort was being made to ensure anyone in need of a bed could access one.

Those using the services offered by the charity are given a hot meal, a bed and are offered follow-up supports.

Mr O'Connor said the people of Galway had a role to play in informing those in need about the availability of the additional beds.

He said there were concerns that some people would not avail of the facility due to their own particular circumstances.

The charity is working to encourage those homeless people to engage with it.

Mr O'Connor said that it was not helpful to give money to people sleeping rough when there were services, supports and food available to them.

The cold weather response unity can be contacted on 091 525 259 during office hours or on an emergency freephone number each evening: 1800 788 887