Submission to inform the National Women’s Strategy 2017-2020.

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The Simon Communities in Ireland welcome the opportunity to contribute to the development of the new
National Women’s Strategy 2017 – 2020 (Strategy). The development of the Strategy comes at a time when
the housing and homelessness crisis is impacting every region and community around the country. It is a
nationwide crisis, more acute in our urban areas but certainly present in our rural areas too. During one
week in December (latest available figures), there were 7,148 people in emergency accommodation across
the country, a year on year increase of 36% when compared to the same week in December 2015. Of this
total, 1,956 are women. In 2016 we welcomed the publication of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing
and Homelessness (Action Plan), and the coordinated approach contained therein to tackle the complexity of
the current housing and homelessness crisis. We believe the development of this new National Women’s
Strategy offers a significant opportunity to enhance the understanding of the lived experience of women in
homelessness and the development of strategies to meet their gender specific needs and the ongoing issues
they encounter in their lives. In this regard, we fully support the Proposed High-level Objectives contained
in the consultation document. This submission will primarily focus on the proposed high-level objectives
for the advancement of socio-economic equality for women and girls, and the improvement of women’s
and girls’ physical and mental health. Further insight will be provided into the disproportionate experience
of violence and trauma encountered by women in homelessness in addition to the phenomenon of
institutional cycling. This submission relies on recent research undertaken for the Simon Communities in
Ireland by Dr. Paula Mayock, Sarah Parker and Sarah Sheridan of Trinity College Dublin entitled ‘Women,
Homelessness and Service Provision’ published in November 2015.

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