Covid-19: Our Response
Dublin Simon Community provides life-saving services to over 7,600 people each year. Dublin Simon Community’s essential services include supported and independent housing, emergency accommodation, Dublin outreach, tenancy support, resettlement support, treatment and counselling.
In line with HSE guidelines, we have adapted our way of working to provide the same high-quality services while also keeping our clients, volunteers and staff safe.
Education & Awareness
For the last number of weeks, we have been running an awareness campaign across all our services to educate our community on the virus itself and the techniques each of us must employ to keep ourselves and others safe. We have closely followed any developments or changes to HSE guidelines and have worked hard to ensure all clients and staff are updated with the latest information.
We have increased our cleaning rotas, ensuring that surfaces in common areas are disinfected several times each day. Our clients and staff are following a strict 30-second handwashing regime on a regular basis and are employing the proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Multiple hand sanitiser stations have been installed in each service and clients and staff are using gloves and masks where necessary.
In line with physical distancing guidelines, we have reduced face-to-face contact where we can. Counselling sessions are happening remotely, and an increasing number of key-working sessions are taking place over the phone. Workshops and social clubs have been suspended, with clients now receiving individual activity packs to help with engagement and entertainment. Staff meetings and handovers are also taking place via phone.
Cocooning & Self-isolation Units
We have identified 25 isolation rooms across our services, which staff have worked hard to make as comfortable as possible by including donations of books, games, TVs and DVDs. We have been working closely with the DRHE to secure more units to enable people in homeless services to self-isolate and cocoon as needed.
Many of our clients have physical health needs which place them at a high level of risk if they contract the virus. We have screened and cohorted vulnerable clients and educated them on cocooning, which we have begun to employ across our services and in partnership with local authorities. In these cases, staff have been running errands and doing shopping for high-risk clients to mitigate the need to go outside.
The Dublin Outreach team is on the street from 7am to 1am, working in partnership with the Dublin Region Homeless Executive to find suitable accommodation for people who are rough sleeping during Covid-19.
Face-to-face contact is being prioritised for these people as we work to secure rolling beds in appropriate accommodation where they will be safe and supported throughout this crisis. The soup run service is now being provided each night by the Dublin Outreach team to reduce risk for clients and volunteers.
Dublin Simon Community is working closely with Safetynet, who is leading the Covid-19 testing of individuals across all homeless services. In the event that a person on the street began to display symptoms, the Dublin Outreach team would contact Safetynet and lead the patient to a self-isolation unit as directed.
The Dublin Simon Community “Step-Up Step-Down” unit, which we run in conjunction with Safetynet, has increased its bed count during Covid-19 to provide medical support to 20 more homeless patients. The expansion of the unit will also mean that 36 beds are available in acute hospitals for those in need due to Covid-19.
Our management team are meeting remotely each day and are in regular contact with the HSE, DRHE, Department of Housing, Safetynet and other agencies.
Dublin Simon Covid-19 Helplines
- If you are sleeping rough or see someone sleeping rough call 01 872 0185
- If you are homeless and struggling with the emotional impact of Covid-19 call 1800 844 600
- If you are worried about your tenancy or housing rights call 01 635 4888