More than 3,000 people would have been forced into emergency accommodation last year were it not for the efforts of Dublin Simon, with the organisation also expanding its network of services as far as Cavan and Louth to sustain tenancies.
The Dublin Simon annual report showed that 6,285 people and families were supported last year — a 22% increase on 2016 figures.
That included 612 adults and children housed through the organisation’s independent housing, 729 households supported in moving out of homelessness by its resettlement services, and 576 households prevented from becoming homeless through advice clinics and other supports.
Dublin Simon Community have today released their 2017 Annual Report and outlined their impact on #housing #homelessness. Read the full report here: https://t.co/QVrNkCYkzy #DubSimonAR17 pic.twitter.com/xuAY1Rp45V— Dublin Simon (@Dublin_Simon) September 25, 2018
Dublin Simon CEO Sam McGuinness said: “In 2017 and into this year, we have continued to work at an accelerated pace. Our homelessness prevention, sustainment, and resettlement teams worked tirelessly to keep more people in homes. Without this work, 1,637 adults and 1,477 children would be otherwise reliant on emergency accommodation.”
The situation has worsened this year, with new monthly records set for the number of people now in emergency accommodation. The last count put that figure at just under 10,000, with the situation most acute in the capital.
However, the sprawling nature of the problem was outlined in the annual report, with Dublin Simon extending its prevention services to provide tenancy sustainment in Cavan and Louth. It also provided support services across Kildare, Wicklow, and Meath last year, working with a total of 396 individuals or families during 2017.
“We helped keep over 600 adults and children in their homes last year. If we could continue to increase this number then we wouldn’t have such high numbers in emergency accommodation.” Sam McGuinness, Head of Dublin Simon Community #DubSimonAR17 #Homeless #Housing pic.twitter.com/Wpf2sbIIea— Dublin Simon (@Dublin_Simon) September 25, 2018
Padraig McKeon, Dublin Simon chairperson, wrote in the report: “The 2017 numbers beggar belief, up 12% on what we despaired at a year previously, despite an evident recovery in the general economy. It is now affecting every corner of the region.”
He said that since the lack of accessible and affordable housing “is now one of the defining issues”, Dublin Simon is pressing ahead with plans to increase its own housing provision. It already manages up to 450 tenancies.
However, Mr McKeon said housing is “not the only deficit”, referencing other obstacles that prevent people from returning to a home.
Last year, the Rough Sleeper Team had 5,701 contacts with clients, while its Medical Residential Treatment and Recovery Facility at Ushers Island is the only one in the country working with homeless people to address addiction and health issues related to their mental and physical health.
At yesterday’s report launch in Dublin’s Mansion House, Mr McGuinness said: “We helped keep more than 600 adults and children in their homes last year. If we could continue to increase this number, then we wouldn’t have such high numbers in emergency accommodation.”
The event also heard from Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, who said: “We are making progress in the housing and homeless crisis. We’re putting parts of the jigsaw together, but more needs to be done.”
The report also featured the story of one service user, Geoff, who was homeless for seven years.
“I was rock bottom,” Geoff said at yesterday’s launch.
“I had lost the will to live. I went into detox and Dublin Simon Community built me back up. They wrapped me in cotton wool and they helped me find myself again.”