The Simon Communities of Ireland today launched their Annual Report for 2016, reporting an increase of 33% in the number of people seeking help from their services over the year. The housing and homeless charity worked with over 11,000 people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness across the country.
The Annual Report was launched by Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that 2017 had seen the housing and homelessness crisis continue to worsen.
“Today we are reporting the number of people we worked with last year increasing to 11,005 people, this is an increase of a third in just one year. This Christmas there will be at least 8,500 men, women and children trapped in emergency accommodation and many thousands more living with housing insecurity. While we have seen some move on to tenancies in the capital, in the absence of affordable and social housing or an accessible private rental sector, the majority have nowhere to go. Every person has their own story; what is common to all is that homelessness and housing insecurity is traumatic, stressful and filled with uncertainty. The Simon Communities see this impact each and every day all across the country.”
“Ensuring that we never experience a crisis such as this again is a key priority for the Simon Communities. The State must start looking at the housing and homeless crisis from a human rights based approach. People who are homeless are denied basic human rights and constitutional protection. Rights are intersectional meaning that the denial of one right often results in the denial of others. Housing is a fundamental right 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 therefore is a clear violation of this right.”
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that the Government can and must do better in 2018.
“The Government has acknowledged that the current market cannot deliver the required housing mix, therefore there must be a move away from private sector reliance and the commodification of housing. We need action on those options that can deliver homes quickly, such as empty homes and rapid build housing. We need the State, in conjunction with Local Authority and Approved Housing Bodies, to build social and affordable housing across all tenure types 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 a concerted focus on preventing people from losing the homes that they have. Over 4,500 people were supported by our Prevention, Early Intervention and Advice services, however the flow into homelessness continues. Full rent certainty and security of tenure are the building blocks for a stable rental sector. Those trapped in emergency accommodation need affordable homes with support where needed (housing first).”
“The New Year will ring in with more than 5,000 adults and 3,000 children living in emergency accommodation, with many more trapped in housing insecurity and hidden in doorways and squats across our towns and cities. The recent Right to Housing Bill was referred to Committee for review and we ask the Government to ensure that this is prioritised in 2018 given its significance. The Simon Communities have committed to adding additional emergency accommodation this year and acted quickly and proactively to recent weather conditions ensuring those who are vulnerable have shelter and safety. This is in addition to supporting over 2,800 people move to and sustain their home in 2016. 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 2018.”
The Simon Communities deliver support, housing, homeless and treatment services to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis.
For media queries and interview requests
Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
Simon Communities Annual Report Launch
Date: Tuesday, December 19th
Venue: Buswells Hotel, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Key highlights from annual report 2016
· The Simon Communities in Ireland worked with 11,005 people including 1,417 families with 2,860 children.
· 2,818 people were supported in housing all around the country.
· 1,150 people accessed Emergency Accommodation
· 2,925 people accessed Specialist Treatment and Support Services.
· 4,547 people accessed Prevention, Early Intervention and Advice Services
· 511 people accessed Education, Training and Employment Services.
· Over 2,500 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 over 11,000 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 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.