On Wednesday, 30th September, we held our annual CAG Simon Speak Out. The Client Action Group, or CAG, are a group of people that get together to work on projects with the aim of helping others who are experiencing homelessness. It is also an opportunity for clients to voice their opinions on issues in homelessness and to try to discuss solutions to these issues.
The topic of this year’s Speak Out was ‘Moving On’. Over the past year, as CAG members discussed different issues at their meetings, they realised that there was a lack of information about moving on options. CAG found that most clients were finding out information from other clients and that there was misinformation among clients. This lack of information and misinformation prompted the topic for this year’s Speak Out, where clients asked questions directly to the panel, so that clients could learn about the ‘move on’ options.
Questions that came from the clients were ‘what move on options are available to us?’, ‘what happens after Dublin Simon Community?’, ‘what’s the next step?’, or ultimately ‘what’s next?’.
Speakers included two members of the Strategy and Development Team, Pat Greene, Head of Strategy and Policy, and Michelle Connolly, Research and Policy Officer. They spoke about Dublin Simon Community’s Strategy and the government homelessness strategy. Catherine Kenny, Head of Quality and Property, gave information about current Dublin Simon Community properties and any upcoming developments. And a member of the Support to Live Independently Team, Nadine Kiernan, spoke about the pathways of accessing independent living.
Speakers talked about the different moving on options and the resources and supports available to clients. We also heard about the strategy of Dublin Simon Community going forward, including current and upcoming property development.
The client’s feedback on the Speak Out was extremely positive, they felt their voices were heard and that they learnt a lot about their different ‘moving on’ options.
Here at Dublin Simon, we put a large focus on the importance of clients’ voices being heard. CAG was created in 2009, with meetings held every second week. CAG members are considered experts through their experiences and it is vital that client voices are heard when discussing difficulties that people experiencing homeless face and possible solutions to these issues.
Our service works to change perceptions of homelessness by encouraging:
- Individuals who access our services to become involved with Dublin Simon Community in a more positive manner.
- By talking and listening to the individuals who access our services and involving them as partners in the decisions that affect their lives.
- Giving individuals accessing our services the equal opportunity to participate to a level and a degree that suits them.
- Individuals who access our services to realise their full potential opportunities and initiatives.
- The skills, talents and experience of the individuals who access our services and use these in tackling the problems they face.