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Media Releases 2016

26% increase in people turning to Simon Communities for support

The housing and homelessness charity welcome significant shifts in Government policy in 2016 while stressing the need for ongoing action

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Simon Communities of Ireland today launched their Annual Report for 2015, reporting an increase of 26% in the number of people seeking help from their services over a two year period. The housing and homeless charity supported almost 8,300 people who are experiencing homelessness across the country. 

The Annual Report was launched by Simon Coveney, T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that 2016 had seen some improvements with people moving on to tenancies yet the homelessness numbers continued to escalate.

“Today we are reporting the number of people we worked with increased to 8,300 people, this is an increase of more than a quarter in a two year period as the crisis intensified. Despite some movement out of homelessness the numbers in emergency accommodation continued to rise nationally to almost 7,000 men, women and children in 2016. These numbers represent someone’s son or daughter, someone’s sister or brother, someone’s friend or neighbour, and the Simon Communities saw the devastating impact of this crisis each and every day this year across the country.”

“Looking back on this year we saw the social housing waiting list grow to well over 100,000 households and ongoing pressure in the Private Rented Sector with quarterly data from DAFT.ie and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) demonstrating that rents increased at an alarming rate while the number of properties available decreased further. The Simon Communities Locked Out of the Market V study, published in October 2016, found a fall of 55% in the number of homes available to rent over the snap shot period when compared to the first Locked Out study, undertaken in May 2015. 80% of properties available to rent were above Rent Supplement (RS) and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits. People are being offered temporary, short term solutions when we know that the best way of addressing homelessness is Housing First providing housing as quickly as possible once a person becomes homeless and then providing the support they need in that housing. It really works. Last year Simon Communities supported 1,932 people and households in housing around the country.”

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that 2016 saw significant shifts in policy but ongoing action is required to ensure a meaningful impact on the lives of people experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.

“The launch of Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness and the collaborative approach from the Cabinet, led by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., was significant, committing to ending the trauma of housing insecurity and homelessness for so many people across Ireland. This is the most comprehensive housing plan ever in the State; bringing together social housing, private housing, the Private Rented Sector and homelessness. For too long these areas have been dealt with separately, missing the point that they are intrinsically linked. 2017 must herald more urgent action. Rapid implementation is required to keep pace with demand and to keep people in their homes thus stemming the flow of people into homelessness. The Strategy for the Rental Sector represents a seismic shift in policy in terms in attempting to limit rent increases thorough the new rent predictability measures. We are concerned about areas which don’t fall within designated ‘rent pressure zones’ and 4% increases per annum are significant especially for struggling renting households. 
Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment limits should be reviewed and increased in light of the passing of this legislation. Security of tenure was not adequately addressed despite the extension of leasing cycles from 4 to 6 years. Tenants must also be protected from tenancy termination by sale of property or use for a family member’. 

‘There will be nearly 7,000 people spending Christmas Day trapped in emergency accommodation, many feeling hopeless and forgotten. Without shelter, safety and security it is almost impossible to function, to participate in society and to get involved in your community. The Simon Communities will continue to let people know they have not been forgotten and left behind. That this is not acceptable for any man, woman or child in Ireland in 2017.’

The Simon Communities deliver support and service to 8,300 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis. 

For media queries and interview requests 
Helen McCormack
Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141 
E:  communications@simoncommunity.com

Simon Communities Annual Report Launch 
Date: Wednesday 21st of December 
Time: 9.00am 
Venue: Buswells Hotel, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 

Key highlights from annual report 2015 
• The Simon Communities in Ireland worked with 8,297 people.
• 1,932 people were supported in housing all around the country.
• 1,030 people accessed Emergency Accommodation. 
• 2,384 people accessed Specialist Treatment, Medical and Support Services.
• 911 people accessed Education, Training and Employment Services.
• 4,134 people accessed Prevention, Early Intervention and Advice Services
• Over 2,300 Volunteers supported the work of their local Simon Community. 

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 8,300 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 www.simon.ie

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.  

Volunteer With Simon

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

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