Press release: Simon Communities of Ireland Annual Report 2021 shows they supported 22,280 people

8th December 2022

Simon Communities of Ireland Annual Report 2021 shows they supported 22,280 people


Lessons must be learned and action taken while the moratorium on evictions are in place

The Simon Communities across Ireland worked with 22,280 people in 2021, including 2,140 families, according to their annual report 2021.

A total of 119,291 nights of emergency accommodation was provided throughout 2021 while 5,760 people were supported by Simon’s Rough Sleeping and Outreach teams. 1,550 people availed of drug and/or alcohol treatment services, 1,584 people availed of a needle exchange and 616 people accessed health specialist services.

Wayne Stanley, Head of Policy and Communications at the Simon Communities of Ireland, said:

“2021 was an extraordinary year and the Simon Communities across the country worked tirelessly during this time to support those most vulnerable in our society.

The year can be viewed as a year of two halves, centred on the lifting of the moratorium of evictions in May. In the first half of the year, we saw a reduction in homelessness as a direct consequence of emergency measures implemented during the pandemic. The increased allocation of social housing to those experiencing homelessness and the moratorium on evictions contributed to a significant decrease in the numbers of people in homelessness. It illustrated what is possible when Government treats homelessness as the emergency that it is.

Unfortunately, the moratorium could not address the structural issues that lead to homelessness. That is, a lack of secure, affordable accommodation. When the moratorium was lifted, we saw increases in homelessness in the second half of the year and that has continued to date.”

On November 1st of this year, the Government introduced a moratorium on evictions which is in place until April 1st 2023. The Simon Communities of Ireland have called on the Government to utilise this time wisely and put into place measures that will protect against homelessness from eviction and take measures to increase our social and affordable housing stock.

Stanley continued:

“The Simon Communities of Ireland introduced the Simon Bill at the end of 2021 in a bid to slow down the number of people entering homelessness. The Bill, which received cross-party support in the Dáil, will provide additional support to individuals and families at risk of homelessness due to eviction. While the Bill drove some change in 2022, in particular the extension of notice periods, we still need to see the Bill implemented to reduce the number of vulnerable households entering emergency homeless accommodation. We also need to stop the requirement for ongoing widespread eviction bans into the future.

The Moratorium has been in place for over a month now and we are yet to see decisive action to ease the housing and homelessness crisis. News of a half-billion underspend by local authorities is particularly worrying given the depth of the crisis we’re in.

We need to see action taken that reflects the learning from 2021. That means targeted action to reduce the number of people entering homelessness and increasing the allocation of resources to support people out of homelessness, particularly those in long-term homelessness.”

Chairperson of Simon Communities of Ireland, Mick Price, said:

“I must extend my thanks to all of our volunteers and donors for their time and efforts given to Simon in 2021. Without their support, our services would not be possible. We take hope and courage from the support we receive from the public to continue to campaign and push for the necessary policies to end the homeless crisis, and ensure everyone in Ireland can live in dignity in a secure and safe home. Until then, the Simon Communities across Ireland will continue to provide the support necessary to the thousands of people who knock on our door for help.”

ENDS

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

Editor’s Notes:

Simon Communities of Ireland 2021 Annual Report can be found here: https://www.simon.ie/e-publication/annual-report-2021/

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