North West Simon Community says the latest homelessness statistics highlight the need for urgent implementation of the prevention measures proposed in the Government’s new National Strategy “Housing For All”.
Noel Daly, General Manager of North West Simon Community was commenting following publication of the Monthly Homelessness Report, which shows that 80 individuals accessed Local Authority managed emergency accommodation in the North West region during the Week of 23 to 29 August 2021. Among the 69 households accommodated were 6 families comprised of 7 adults and 10 children, and 63 single adults. Although this latest statistic represents a 14% decline in the number of people in emergency accommodation in the North West compared to the previous month, the number of people in emergency accommodation during the month of August shows no improvement year on year, with 78 people in emergency accommodation in August 2020.
North West Simon Community, point out that these homeless figures only relate to households approved for social housing support by the local authorities. They do not include households frequently described as the “hidden homeless” that may be sleeping rough, living in refuges, or staying with parents, relatives and friends in overcrowded conditions.
“There is a huge shortage of affordable housing in the North West region, and until this problem is addressed assertive action to prevent further homelessness by keeping people in their current accommodation must be the priority for all local authorities and homeless service providers in the region”.
“Our overall message is that implementation of the Governments new housing strategy “Housing For All” must commence immediately, and at pace” Mr Daly said. The Strategy documents states that:
The Government is committed to a housing-led approach as the primary response to all forms of homelessness. It includes the prevention of loss of existing housing. It also incorporates the provision of adequate support to people in their homes according to their needs and the provision of high levels of additional social housing.
Housing for All goes on to say:
On 21 June 2021, the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, …, signed the ‘Lisbon Declaration on the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness’. The Declaration commits all signatories, Ireland included, to working towards the ending of homelessness by 2030. … In signing the Declaration, Ireland has agreed to promote the prevention of homelessness, access to permanent housing and the provision of enabling support services to those who are homeless. … We are committed to supporting our policy measures with adequate funding and to sharing our good practices in combatting homelessness.
According to Noel Daly, “Though these new commitments are very welcome, they are Not Good Enough on their own. The true value of this strategy will only become evident if the fine words are matched by the development of new services to prevent homelessness and the allocation of adequate resources to ensure that each of the other Actions identified in the Strategy are also fully implemented.
Simon Week 2021 – a national campaign on behalf of the Simon Communities of Ireland September 27th to Oct 1st – is calling on people to support the Simon Bill aims to provide increased protection for those facing eviction and at risk of homelessness today, by giving people more time to find alternative housing and we hope people will actively support this campaign” Noel Daly said. Details on the campaign are available at this link: https://www.simon.ie/simon-week-2021/
In the meantime, on Friday October 1st volunteers across Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo will participate in the 13th Annual Sleepout to raise the badly needed funds required to enable North West Simon Community. Anybody wishing to support the SLEEP OUT can make do so at https://www.northwestsimon.ie/donate-now/