IN THE lead up to the annual Simon Week (September 28 to October 4) a Donegal-based charity is urging members of the community to support them in preventing more people from suffering and becoming homeless.
Ms Collette Ferguson is a Development Officer with North West Simon Community which reaches out to people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or experiencing housing difficulties in Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo.
She said the biggest challenge right now is access to appropriate, affordable housing which urgently needs to be addressed.
Ms Ferguson said while rough sleeping represents the severest form of homelessness, the majority of people who are homeless in Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo are not immediately identifiable as homeless.
“They are living in emergency or temporary accommodation, on social housing lists or waiting in vain for affordable private rental accommodation to become available.
“They are the unofficial ‘hidden homeless’ – people with no fixed abode, who are ‘sofa-surfing’ or relying on the good will of friends to survive.”
Simon Communities stress that will continue to escalate, with the Daft.ie Q2 Rental Report showing rents continuing to rise for a record short supply of available homes and state that the government needs to urgently increase rent supplement limits and to introduce rent certainty.
Ms Ferguson said: “The rising rents and reduced supply everyday – people on low incomes and those in receipt of rent supplement can no longer afford rental payments The government must intervene urgently to alleviate the crisis before the onset of winter.
“Rent supplement and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits must be increased. The decision last March by An Tánaiste and the Department of Social Protection to leave Rent Supplement limits unchanged must be urgently reviewed.” she said.
The annual ‘Street Sleep’ is on Friday, October 2 in Letterkenny as part of Simon Week campaign and the charity are urging business people and individuals from all walks of life to sign up today.
You must be willing to collect sponsorship as the charity is currently not in receipt of government funding and therefore totally reliant on donors and donations through fund-raising campaigns.
Selected participants must be over 18 years to take part in the Street Sleep. Each participant will get a certificate and go home with the satisfaction that they have helped make a difference for those who are less fortunate in their local community.
‘Soup for Simon’
North West Simon Community is calling on hotels, restaurants, cafés throughout Donegal to organise an event such as a coffee morning or ‘Soup for Simon’ where for one week a donation of €1 from every bowl of soup sold goes to the North West Simon Community.
Schools throughout Donegal, clubs/societies, groups, individuals can help make a difference by organising a fund-raising event i.e. a non-uniform day, quiz, cake sale, run/ walk etc.
A six week campaign begins this week and part of this campaign is to urge people to sign a letter to government demanding action to address the growing homeless and housing crisis.
Go to http://simonhomelessforecast.ie and scroll down to sign the letter to government. Help change this grim forecast for the better!
If you would like to help make a difference in your community please contact Collette on M: 087 0552478 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: 11:51 am September 3, 2015
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