Dublin Simon History

History of the Simon Community

The Simon Community was founded by Anton Wallich-Clifford, a Probation Officer, attached to the Bow Street Courts in London. Part of Anton’s work was to do something about the homeless people who were often brought before the courts and sent to prison for begging, petty theft and other infringements of the law. Inevitably, he found it very difficult to make contact with people who had no home and no address so in 1963, he decided to give up his job in order to try a different approach.
Anton began to visit the places where homeless people gathered, bringing with him bread, soup and cigarettes. He spent time with them, talked to them and gradually gained their trust. Anton then found a vacant basement and invited them to live together for mutual support and friendship. As Anton was a religious man, he decided to name his venture in honour of Simon of Cyrene, who helped Jesus carry the Cross and that was the beginning of the Simon Community.

The Irish Connection

As Anton and his fellow volunteers went about their work, they discovered lots of Irish people on the streets of London so in February 1969, Anton came to Ireland to try to stop this flow of people across the Irish Sea.
He spoke with students in Trinity College and UCD and in response they started a one-night-a week soup run. Four young homeless men played a large part in helping the new Simon group to make contact with the world of the homeless. At that time, the soup runners met 40 to 60 people a night. Today the soup runners continue on their nightly rounds, 365 nights of the year.

Historic Timeline For the Dublin Simon Community

1969                 Students from TCD set up Soup Run
October 1969   First house in Winetavern Street.
1971                 Simon got the use of 2 vacant houses on Sarsfield Quay
1972                 The office moved to 42 Harcourt Street.
2001                 We took on the house in Georges Place (off Dorset Street).
1976                 The first house in Sean MacDermott Street.
1980                 The second house in Sean MacDermott Street.
2000                 Training and Employment and Resettlement established
2001                 House in Georges Place was secured
2003                 House in Canal Road, low support
2003                 Opened first alcohol detox unit, followed by a rehab unit.
2004                 Took on the Women’s Shelter
2006                 Tenancy Sustainment Partnership with DCC
2008                 Emergency shelters opened in Dun Laoghaire



Our Services

Dublin Simon Community offers 13 services throughout the stages of homelessness. These range from emergency and treatment to supported housing and settlement.  » »