The North West Simon Community is calling on the public to join a national plea for action to prevent homelessness in Ireland.
The Covid-19 crisis is forcing individuals and families into desperate battles to keep a roof over their heads, according to the charity.
North West Simon Community says the economic impact of the pandemic has increased the risk for many more people falling into homelessness.
“Every day here at North West Simon Community, we are seeing the impact this crisis is having on people’s lives. The evictions that result from rent hikes by unscrupulous landlords, the lack of affordable housing, and the impact of job losses, can mean that men, women, and families with young children are finding themselves with nowhere to call home. You may even know people here in the North West who have been struggling to keep a roof over their heads,” said Collette Ferguson NW Simon Community Development Officer for Donegal.
“North West Simon Community has developed a highly mobile regional service that can provide direct support to people in every part of Donegal, Leitrim, and Sligo.
“In the first six months of 2020, we supported 108 Households to stay safe from Covid-19 and either retain their existing tenancy or find a new one. Last year, 155 Households in similar housing circumstances sought our support,” Ms Ferguson said.
‘Simon Week’ comes to an end today, and the charity is saying ‘Enough is Enough’.
The organisation is calling on the Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to take three steps to keep people from being pushed into homelessness.
Funding for homelessness prevention must be a priority, the charity said.
Ms Ferguson states: “There is no State funding available for work with people experiencing a housing problem until the crisis reaches the stage where the local authority declares the household to be homeless.
“As a result, North West Simon Community’s early intervention and preventative work are reliant on the voluntary fundraising to pay for up to 80% of our operating costs each year. An administrative decision about how funding is allocated could enable us to help many more families if the Minister recognizes the value of this work.”
The charity is calling on the public to email the Minister for Housing asking him to take action.
Ms Ferguson said: “At this link https://act.simon.ie/ you’ll find our pre-written email – which you are welcome to change or expand as you see fit before signing your name and sending it with a simple click – letting Minister Darragh O’Brien know what steps need to be taken if we are to keep people from being pushed into homelessness. We need to stop homelessness before it starts. Before people find themselves on the streets, not after.
“This is what we’re asking the Minister for Housing to do:
- Include a comprehensive homelessness prevention strategy with ring-fenced funding in Budget 2021.
- Ensure that 50% of all new public housing are one- and two-bed units. This would provide an average of 7,500 one- and two-bed social homes each year.
- Increase protection for renters, to ensure that tenants cannot be evicted into homelessness.
“The impact of these three measures can help to stop homelessness before it starts. So please, send your message today – and if you can, please use social media or email to encourage your friends and family to do the same.”Tags: