1,011 People living in Forever Homes provided by Dublin Simon Community
The charity supported almost 5,500 people in 2022 but says a chronic housing shortage prevented them from helping many more to exit homelessness
Dublin 20 September 2023: Dublin Simon Community today released details of its Annual Impact Report for 2022 revealing an 18% increase in the number of people living in long-term ‘forever’ accommodation provided by the charity.
However, the number of people supported overall reduced by 17%, largely due to the fact that the people receiving support are spending longer in homeless services due to the shortage of affordable and suitable housing to enable them to exit services and live independently.
As a result of its housing-led strategy, Dublin Simon now has 784 accommodation units, of which 280 are independent housing, 179 are long-term supported accommodation and the remainder comprise of emergency accommodation and health & addiction treatment beds.
This strategy enabled Dublin Simon to directly impact the lives of people struggling with the destructive effects of homelessness. By the end of 2022 Dublin Simon reported:
- 5,476 people and families supported across all services.
- 1,011 people were living in forever homes provided by Dublin Simon Community.
- 715 adults and children had homes in long-term independent housing.
- 192 people were living in medium and high support housing with access to key working and supports needed to rebuild their lives.
- 453 people stayed in Dublin Simon’s short-term emergency accommodation.
- 934 people received medical, residential treatment, detox, and recovery services across 2022.
- Dublin Simon’s Outreach had 6,371 interventions with people sleeping rough.
- 967 adults and children were supported by our settlement services in 2022.
- 3,335 hours of one-to-one counselling and crisis suicide intervention was provided by Dublin Simon’s Sure Steps Counselling service.
- Client Development delivered well-being, education and employability services to 279 people.
Dublin Simon Community CEO, Catherine Kenny, acknowledged the challenges of operating in a year where the country was emerging from a pandemic into the depths of a cost of living crisis. This, she said, led to increasing challenges for people who were already struggling to maintain a roof over their heads.
“Against the odds we continued to end homelessness for people and families every single day in 2022 through our long-term and independent housing, resettlement and prevention services.”
Noting the 17% decrease in people supported over the previous year, Ms Kenny added: “While I am immensely proud of what our staff and volunteers have achieved in increasingly challenging circumstances, the limitations placed on the scope of our success cannot go unacknowledged.
“As the pool of available rental properties continued to shrink throughout 2022 many of our clients joined the long queues to view potential rental properties alongside hundreds of others with whom they could not financially compete.
“Too many people who are ready and waiting to exit homelessness are being stranded in homeless services because there are simply no properties available to allow them to live their lives independently and with dignity.”
She added: “Many of these people have overcome extraordinary challenges to get to that point, including trauma, addiction, broken homes and financial challenges. It is truly heart-breaking that they are unable to clear this final hurdle to rebuilding their lives.”
Catherine Kenny said the outcome of this situation is taking an immense toll on the people whose lives are on-hold. “For these people a happy ending remains out of reach. The knock-on effect of this situation is taking an enormous toll on the physical and mental health of the growing number of people who are entering homelessness.”
Increasing capacity to deliver housing directly is a key strategic aim of the charity, and Dublin Simon Community is an Approved Housing Body. It currently has a number of key construction project underway, focusing on delivering one-bedroom units for people experiencing homelessness. Housing units are under construction in Dublin at Sean McDermott Street, Arbour Hill and Nangor Road. The organisation’s strategic housing plan remains focused on increasing the provision of housing in its operational areas of Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Louth, Cavan & Monaghan, through a range of supported and independent housing units for single people, couples and families.
Senior Property Development Manager, Rory O’Moore said: “The scale of the task to address the housing and homelessness crisis is vast, and it is critical that the pace of progress is increased. This will take the combined efforts of state agencies, the private sector and Approved Housing Bodies to deliver successful outcomes that will end homelessness. Dublin Simon remains optimistic, determined, and confident that we can have a significant impact in making home a reality for all those who need it.”
Ushers Island Medical Facility
Dublin Simon Community is in the final stages of construction of a 100-bed medical facility at Ushers Island in partnership with the Department of Housing and HSE. Due to open in early 2024 the facility will provide a much-needed boost to healthcare and treatments services for people experiencing homelessness and will increase current capacity across a range of life-saving and life altering clinical services.
Dublin Simon Community remains at the cutting edge of homelessness research and policy, delivering a range of research projects internally and in partnership with Government and educational bodies. In 2022 projects included research on mental health needs of young adults in homelessness, nurse-led COVID-19 interventions for homeless populations, suicide-related incidents, and mapping processes for addiction recovery. Additionally, the Research & Policy team secured funding to explore the opportunities and challenges of refurbishment of vacant above-the-shop units for residential use. Finding of this research will be published in early 2024.
Pre-Budget Submission 2024
Ahead of Budget 2024, Dublin Simon Community has submitted a number of considerations to support the delivery of homelessness and housing services.
These include recommendations which relate to Homeless Sector Funding: Section 10 & 39, Housing, Tenancy Sustainment, Social Protection and Charity Fundraising.
Key recommendations include:
- Fully utilise all capital funding available under Department of Housing to increase housing supply.
- Increase the mental health budget to 10% of the overall health budget.
- Increase core social welfare rates by €25 per week to ensure households on low or fixed incomes have an adequate standard of living.
- Increase the €5m cap on the VAT compensation scheme for charities. Address the current pay deficit of 10-12% for staff to deliver pay equivalence between Section 10 and Section 39 organisations and their counterparts in state agencies.
For the full details, see our Annual Impact Report 2022 here.