The housing and homelessness organisation forecast record numbers using their services in 2018
The Simon Communities of Ireland today launched their Annual Report for 2017, highlighting a 60% increase in people turning to all of their emergency, housing and support services around the country over the two-year period, 2015 to 2017; increasing to 13,304, men women and children. Furthermore, figures for the first six months of this year suggest record numbers of people using services in 2018. The Simon Communities report that 1,218 people accessed their emergency accommodation services alone between January and June of 2018; this compares to a total of 968 people accessing emergency accommodation for all of 2017. Up to June 2018, we worked with 3,140 families with 3,255 children compared to 2,006 families with 3,799 children for the whole of 2017.
The Annual Report was launched by Damien English, T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Development.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that things on the ground are getting worse every year.
“Today we are reporting the number of people we worked with last year increased to 13,304 people, this is an increase of two thirds in just two years. Simon Communities around the country are tirelessly working to provide emergency services, health care, housing and housing support to the ever growing number of people who are relying on their help. However, the scale of the problem means that at least 81,000 men, women and children will face Christmas this year without a secure place they can call home and are looking to 2019 with increasing despair. Looking at our figures for the first six months of 2018, we can already see significant increases in the numbers being reported here today for the full year of 2017. We have said time and time again; there is nowhere for people to go once they end up in emergency accommodation. The private rental sector cannot provide the homes that are needed, particularly in the absence of the level of social housing required. For the many thousands of people who are homeless or living in fear of losing their home this is traumatic, stressful and filled with uncertainty. The Simon Communities see this impact on people each and every day all across the country.”
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that the Government can and must do better in 2019.
“We must never accept homelessness as normal. We must never accept people living with such fear and uncertainty as normal. It is time for the Government to recognise that the private sector alone will not deliver the housing that people need; it cannot solve this crisis. The Government must move away from private sector reliance and the acceptance that housing is a commodity rather than a home. We need the State, in conjunction with Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies, to build social and affordable housing across all tenure types quickly within sustainable communities nationwide; to prevent more people from becoming homeless; and to address the complex or multiple needs that can be a cause or consequence of homelessness. There must be a concerted focus on preventing people from losing the homes that they have. Over 5,700 people were supported by our Prevention, Early Intervention and Advice services in 2017, however the flow into homelessness continues.”
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that housing must be recognised as a fundamental human right in the Irish Constitution.
“The Simon Communities want to ensure that a crisis like this one never occurs again; that systems and structures are put in place to protect and support people, preventing homelessness from occurring in the first place. Everyone must be entitled to a safe, secure and affordable home. Central to this is recognising that housing is a basic human need. Housing must become recognised as fundamental human right in the Irish constitution; it is one that facilitates the enjoyment of so many other rights including health, education, employment, privacy and family life. Under international human rights obligations, housing is considered a human right, not a commodity. To be adequately housed means having security of tenure – not having to worry about eviction or having your home taken away with very little notice. It means having the right to live somewhere in peace and dignity with access to appropriate services, schools, and employment. Homelessness is a clear violation of this right.”
“Without shelter, safety and security it is almost impossible to function, to participate in society and to get involved in your community. People deserve better, it is not fair to keep offering short-term solutions with little attention paid to people’s longer-term needs. The year 2019 will mark 50 years since the Simon Communities first began providing services in Ireland. Today, we lament that there is still a need for those services. The Simon Communities will continue to let the people we work with know that we have not forgotten them; we are working to ensure they are not left behind. That this is not acceptable for any man, woman or child in Ireland in 2019.”
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Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
Simon Communities Annual Report Launch
Date: Tuesday, December 11th 2018
Venue: Buswells Hotel, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Key figures from Annual report 2017
- The Simon Communities in Ireland worked with 13,304 people in 2017 including 2,006 families with 3,796 children
- Soup runs took place 365 nightslast year in Cork and Dublin.
- 968 peopleaccessed emergency accommodation over the course of the year.
- 5,728 peopleaccessed Prevention, Early Intervention and Advice Services.
- 2,740 peopleaccessed specialist treatment and support services which included health care, drugs counselling, and community alcohol detoxification.
- 1,126 people availed of drug and/or alcohol treatment services.
- 802 peopleaccessed Education, Training and Employment Services provided directly by the Simon Communities.
- 3,356 people were supported in housing.
- 1,133 people were supported in Simon housing.
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 13,000 men, women and children. We have almost 50 years of experience providing homeless, housing and treatment services to people facing the trauma and stress of homelessness. We are a network of independent Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East, responding to local needs and supported by a National Office in the areas of policy, research, communications and best practice. We share common values and ethos in tackling homelessness and, informed by our grassroots services, we campaign for more effective policies and legislation regionally, nationally and at European level. Whatever the issue, Simon’s door is always open for as long as we are needed. For more information, please log on to www.simon.ie
- Homelessness prevention, tenancy sustainment and resettlement.
- Street outreach, emergency accommodation and harm reduction.
- Housing with support and Housing First services.
- Homeless specific health and wellbeing services (counselling; addiction treatment and recovery; and mental health supports).
- Personal development, education, training and employment services.
- Foodbanks, drop-in centres and soup runs.
 Official figures state there are 71,858 households in need of social housing; 9,724 people in emergency accommodation and 156 rough sleepers in Dublin. Official figures are not collected for the number of people living in hidden homelessness, those staying with family and friends often in unsuitable or overcrowded housing, because they have no other choice but indications are numbers are growing across the country.