We had our 50th Commemoration event and launch of ‘Scrappy but Happy 9’ on Friday, 15th November in Trinity College. Broadcaster Bryan Dobson hosted an evening of discussion and performance, including a panel of founding volunteers who reflected on the early days. We heard the experiences of clients who have been supported by Dublin Simon Community to close the door on homelessness. We also had our Client Recognition Ceremony, which demonstrated the essence of all that we do and performances from members of the Dublin Simon Community Participation & Development group.
The event also marked the launch of the annual arts publication, Scrappy But Happy 9, produced by clients of Dublin Simon Community. Artwork from Scrappy But Happy 9 will be exhibited in Powerscourt townhouse from now until the end of December.
November was also a monumental month for our Capital Development Fund. On Monday, 18th of November, we turned the sod at Chester House on phase two of the Capital Development funded construction project. This will create 20 new supported housing units for our clients. High-support services like Chester House, provide 24/7 care to people with mental health, addiction, physical and personal issues, which render them unable to live independently.
The number of people rough sleeping is down. On its official count in Winter 2019, the Dublin Region Homeless Executive counted 92 individuals sleeping rough in Dublin. Our Outreach Team works closely with the DRHE to meet these people where they’re at and link in with them on a daily basis to provide for their complex needs. Also in October, the Department of Housing’s Homelessness Report counted 6,688 adults, 1,733 families and 3,826 children in Emergency Accommodation in Ireland, an increase from the month before.
Fundraising teams were busy with some of our biggest fundraisers of the year. Simon House of Light at Powerscourt Townhouse, was a huge success and a great night out for all. Well known Irish actor, Cillian Murphy came down to help us highlight the issue of homelessness and to launch Simon House of Light. This is the 9th year of the annual extravaganza of lights and live music on the steps. Sing for Simon with over 100 choirs singing across Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Meath is currently underway, so look out for choirs in Simon santa hats.
As part of our “Closing Doors” Campaign, Simon challenged Newstalk’s Tom Dunne to spend a night without closing his front door. “Tom Dunne’s Most Vulnerable Night” helps those of us fortunate enough to have stable and secure homes to appreciate the safety, warmth, freedom of routine and peace of mind we take for granted every day.
As we approach Christmas and year end I’d like to thank all of our staff and volunteers for their dedication and commitment this year. Looking forward to all the festivities Christmas brings, hoping to see you all at our Carolthon on Grafton street this weekend and the infamous busk on Grafton street on Christmas Eve with Glen Hansard and company.
Best wishes to you and your family