Midlands Simon in danger of closing

The Midlands Simon Community is warning that its six-bed emergency shelter in Athlone could close if it does not get more state funding.

The shelter is the only such facility in Athlone. Together with another six-bed facility in Tullamore, it serves Westmeath, Laois, Offaly and Longford, and costs €230,000 per year to operate. Midlands Simon receives €150,000 in funding from Westmeath County Council and the HSE, but needs another €80,000 to stay open.

The charity has already cut staffing and CEO Tony O’Riordan told the Irish Times that the facility needs a “reasonable increase in funding” to keep it open.

“We have to fundraise to make up the difference,” said Mr O’Riordain. “In this part of the country the recession hasn’t lifted in the way it has in Dublin. Fundraising is difficult.

According to figures released by the Department of Housing, there were 78 homeless adults accessing emergency accommodation in the Midlands as of October, up 44 per cent since 2016.

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