“The 10,148 people reported as homeless in these figures released today are indicative of the enormous number of people exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic because of the failure to adequately address the homeless crisis. It is a crisis within a crisis. It is devastatingly clear just how essential a secure and affordable home is to our social and economic wellbeing and crucially, to our health.
The Minister is correct, in the coming weeks the priority is the safety of those experiencing homelessness. Since the onset of the COVID-19 emergency, the Simon Communities have worked closely with local authorities, the HSE, government departments and other NGOs to ensure the health and safety of clients, staff, volunteers. Delivering care and supports to people facing challenging circumstances underpins everything we do. There is a massive collaborative effort underway across the country to ensure people are safe.
However we also have to have an eye to the future. As the political parties sit down to develop a programme for government we call on them to reflect on the impressive capacity shown in the State’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, their own commendable role in that, and remind them that this kind of ambition is what we need to address the housing and homelessness crisis.”
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The Simon Communities support over 16,700 men, women and children. We have 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 visit 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.
• Food banks, drop-in centres and soup runs.