Simon Communities call for national conversation on the right to housing

The housing and homelessness organisation host event to welcome UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing to Ireland

Press ReleasesPress Releases 2018


The Simon Communities in Ireland are delighted to welcome the UN Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, to Ireland today. Ms. Farha will be the keynote speaker at a Simon Communities event, ‘Making the Case for a Right to Housing’, which takes place in Dublin today. Other speakers include Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner for the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, Senator Colette Kelleher and Niamh Randall of the Simon Communities. The Simon Communities new paper, ‘Making the Case for a Right to Housing in Ireland’ will be published at this event which will be chaired by journalist Cathal MacCoille.


Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities speaking about the need for a right to housing in Ireland


‘It is time for a national conversation on the right to housing in Ireland. With record numbers trapped in emergency accommodation, on the social housing waiting lists and experiencing ‘hidden homelessness’, it is clear the current approach to housing is not working. A right to housing is not about the State ensuring home ownership for all. This is an unrealistic expectation and a soundbite often used by those who wish to undermine progress on this issue. A right to housing would provide a ‘floor’ in respect of access to adequate housing for all, obliging the state to reasonably protect and fulfil that right. For example, where the gap between Housing Assistance Payments and market rents are so great that far too many people cannot afford to rent a home, the right to housing would allow this to be constitutionally challenged. Eighty-one countries around the world have a constitutionally protected right to housing.’


‘In 2014, the Constitutional Convention recommended the inclusion of legally enforceable socio-economic rights in the Constitution including the right to housing. In 2017 the Right to Housing Bill sought to insert a right to housing into the Constitution by amendment to Article 43. The Bill was defeated in the Dáil but referred for further consideration to the Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform. Today we call on this Committee to consider the provisions of this bill urgently making recommendation to Government.’


‘There are almost 10,000 people stuck in emergency accommodation while many more are ‘hidden homeless’ with no choice but to share with family and friends. These 10,000 people are the visible and statistical embodiment of this broken system, but represent just the tip of the iceberg in terms of housing instability and insecurity. They are people trying to live their lives in very difficult circumstances characterised by stress, trauma and uncertainty. We need to transition from emergency-led responses to a statutory homelessness preventative model underpinned by State obligations to respect, protect and fulfil citizen’s basic right to adequate housing.’  


’The Simon Communities hope our event today will contribute to the ongoing conversation on the possible routes to deliver greater protections and obligations with regard to housing and homelessness in Ireland. Across multiple jurisdictions, the right to housing has been delivered through both constitutional and statutory reform involving institutional and non-judicial mechanisms. Everyone must be entitled to a safe, secure and affordable home appropriate to their needs. Central to this, acting as the anchor, is the right to housing.’


The Simon Communities deliver supports and services to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness every year. 


For media queries and interview requests

Helen McCormack

Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141




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 almost 50 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


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.
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