Over 18,000 People Depended on Simon Community Services in 2019, One in Five Know Someone Forced to Stay with Family or Friends Due to Lack of Tenancy

 

The Simon Communities of Ireland today launched its Annual Report for 2019, reporting a rise in the number of people seeking the services delivered by Simon Communities across Ireland. The number of people who depended on the services of the Simon Communities in Ireland increased 8% from 16,700 in 2018 to 18,087 in 2019 – an additional 1,387 people, as the housing and homelessness crisis continued.

 

116,000 bed nights were provided by the Simon Communities in Ireland in 2019. Increases in the number of people experiencing homelessness continued to be driven by an insufficient supply of housing, and a lack of affordability and security in the private rental market. Rent increases, evictions and the shortage of secure affordable housing options were key causes of homelessness for many individuals and families. 

The number of people in emergency accommodation represents a narrow count of the scale of homelessness in Ireland. Hidden homelessness continues to impact a significant number of people as shown in research commissioned by the Simon Communities of Ireland in 2019. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, one in three said they knew someone who was forced to stay with family or friends because they did not have a tenancy of their own. 

The same survey was revisited in November 2020 and this number is now one in five.

With 50 years’ service on the clock in 2019, the Simon Communities in Ireland continues to campaign strongly for a commitment to ending homelessness in Ireland. In 2019, official figures showed that the numbers of people in emergency accommodation reached a record high of over 10,515 adults and children. 

 

Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland said;

“Over 18,000 people depended on the services of the Simon Communities in Ireland in 2019. The transformative nature of the 2020 pandemic in all of our lives and all sectors of society means reflecting on 2019 can feel like looking back at a different era but the pandemic demonstrated how fragile the situation was, and just how at risk people in emergency and temporary accommodation could be. In 2020 we have seen an enormous collaborative effort to keep those experiencing homelessness safe. That effort in conjunction with the moratorium on evictions saw a reduction in the number of people in emergency homeless accommodation. However the Simon Communities in Ireland prevention services are as busy as ever. This speaks to our concerns around the levels of hidden homelessness and the challenge that awaits us in 2021. 

 

To meet that challenge, we continue to work with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, local authorities and all statutory agencies to support people out of homelessness and to prevent homelessness where we can. 

The essential long-term solution to homelessness in Ireland is a sufficient supply of social and affordable housing to meet the needs of the population. In 2019 Simon continued to deliver the services and push for the necessary policies that will deliver the supports and housing needed to end this crisis, and ensure everyone in Ireland can live in dignity in a secure and safe home. That work continues”

Karen Golden, Chairperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland said;

 

“Throughout the year, staff and volunteers across the Communities responded to the increasing number of people looking for help. They supported people facing homelessness, whatever their situation. The Communities provided prevention services; soup runs and street outreach; addiction, counselling and GP services, emergency accommodation; housing first services; supported accommodation; and transitional and longer-term housing options across towns, cities and rural areas to men, women, young adults and families. 846 people accessed education, training and employment services including computer skills, arts & crafts and literacy skills. 

 

I want to thank the frontline staff and volunteers of each of the Simon Communities across Ireland, for their deep commitment to supporting people facing homelessness, especially throughout 2020. Their dedication and expertise have helped many individuals and families move on in their lives to a more secure future.”

 

ENDS

 

For further information contact Aileen Gaskin 087 7724 717 aileen@communicationsclinic.ie 

 

Both Wayne Stanley, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland and Karen Golden, Chairperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland (Irish speaker) are available for media interviews. 

 

Editor’s Notes

 

Key highlights from Annual Report 2019

 

  • During 2019, Simon Communities around the country worked with 18,087 people, including 4,431 families with 6,406 children
  • 1,765 people accessed Simon emergency accommodation 
  • 20,255 contacts with soup kitchen runs in Cork and Dublin
  • 7,345 people accessed food bank services in the Midwest
  • 338 emergency accommodation beds provided 116,000 bed nights throughout the year
  • Specialist treatment and support services was provided in 2,374 cases with some people accessing treatment more than once
  • Prevention, early intervention and advice services were accessed in 2,694 cases, with some people accessing services more than once
  • 846 people accessed Education, Training and Employment services (computer skills, arts & crafts and literacy skills)
  • 5,010 people were supported with tenancies and housing all around the country
  • 1,282 people were supported in Simon Housing
  • 1,647 volunteers supported the work of their local Simon Community

 

About Simon Communities

 

The Simon Communities support over 18,000 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 

 

 

Services include:

  • 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. 
  • Foodbanks, drop-in centres and soup runs. 

 

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