Believe In People

Media Releases 2015

Women are falling through the cracks into, and remaining in, homelessness

Press Releases, Press Release 2015

The Simon Communities in Ireland today highlighted their research into women and homelessness at a conference in Galway; ‘Home Truths: Women, Homelessness and Service Provision’.  The homelessness charity said that women’s homelessness can differ significantly to men’s in terms of the causes, experiences and pathways out of homelessness. 
Today’s conference explores the complex nature of women’s homelessness and the overlap between women’s homelessness and other support needs, for example, poor mental health, domestic violence, drug use and trauma -  issues that are underexplored in the Irish context. 
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said 
“About a third of people who are homeless are women and yet their homelessness remains largely ‘hidden’. There are many different reasons why someone may become homeless but what is clear is that in the case of women, there is a gender specific dimension to their experiences with high rates of childhood trauma, violence and sexual violence.”
“Of the women who participated in the research, many grew up in family circumstances characterised by trauma, conflict and housing instability where economic hardship was a daily reality. Almost all of the women (92%) experienced some form of violence throughout their life and over half (55%) experienced violence both as children and during adulthood. Almost a third (30%) first experienced homelessness as children. Often when women who are homeless present to services, it is their last resort and they may be at a crisis point with a range of multiple and complex needs including deteriorating mental health, stress and sometimes drug and alcohol use. Some of the women in this study link the experience of being in state care as a child to a lack of readiness for living independently and social isolation. This is extremely worrying when you consider the number of children nationally -1571 - who are trapped in emergency accommodation today.”
The Simon Communities are also launching a resource guide today to create greater awareness of the issues surrounding women and homelessness and to support services to respond more effectively.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that it is vital that appropriate housing with support is made available as quickly as possible: 
“Our resource guide highlights that need to develop targeted services for women who are homeless e.g. mother and child units, services for younger women and women-only services. It is essential that these are safe and secure especially for those women who have experienced domestic or intimate partner violence. Women who are homeless with children should be able to access facilities and emergency accommodation that includes provision for their children; sufficient living and sleeping space, a safe space to play, access to childcare, etc. Women who have their children with them in emergency accommodation really worry about this impact the experience will have on their children.”
“To address these issues we urgently need housing but it is not just about housing, these women must be able to access the support services to meet their specific needs – a Housing First Approach. It is also important that there is integrated care planning, interagency working and appropriate discharge protocols as many of these women have overlapping support needs and end up homeless upon leaving state care, prison or other institutional settings.”
For media queries and interview requests 
Helen McCormack, Simon Communities of Ireland
Tel: 01 47 27 202/ 085 806 5141 
Homelessness - the numbers 
• There are currently 5000 men, women and children in emergency homeless accommodation nationally, 738 families with 1,571 children, and 2448 single people. (DECLG, September 2015)
• During one night in March 2015, there were 151 people without a safe place to sleep in Dublin City.  This included 105 people sleeping rough and 46 people sheltering at the Nite Café.  Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. (DRHE 2015) Figures from Cork Simon Community indicate that rough sleeping in Cork City increased seven-fold in three years (2011-2014).
• In December 291 extra emergency beds were made available (Dublin and Cork), they are all or almost all are in use, (beds in Cork winding down since March 31st).
• In December the Simon Communities reported a 41% increase in the numbers of individuals and families around the country turning to our services for help over a two year period.
• Rent in the private rented sector increased by 20.3% from Jul 2013 –Jul 2015 (
About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years.  The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 6,000 individuals and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year. Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to
Services range from
• Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
• Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
• Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
• Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough. 
About the event 
‘Home Truths: Women and Homelessness. 
Date: Friday, 06th November, 2015
Time: 10.45am-15.00pm
Venue: The Ardiluan Hotel, Taylor’s Hill, Galway.

Number of views (2822)


Volunteer With Simon

Volunteers are at the heart of all we do in the Simon Community, volunteers are essential to the work we do. 

read more