Homeless charities call for urgent need for increased supports in Midlands region

Sophia and the Midlands Simon Community have raised concerns on the increased numbers of people sleeping rough in Westmeath and across the Midlands region, calling on the Government to act urgently to meet this growing demand.

Midlands Simon Community provide emergency accommodation, outreach support and long term supported accommodation to people who are experiencing homelessness across the Midlands. Their outreach service encounters 30 people sleeping rough each quarter, and these numbers are growing.

Speaking this week, June Carely, Midlands Simon Outreach worker, said that she is coming across people rough sleeping in sheds, derelict buildings, under bridges and it’s not just towns, it’s in villages too.

Mark Cooney, chairperson of Midlands Simon Community, noted that homelessness was not simply confined to the large urban areas.

“The perception is that homelessness is something that is confined to the large urban areas, it’s not. It’s in the Midlands, in rural areas, smaller towns and it doesn’t get the recognition and the funding it should,” Mr Cooney asserted.

Last year the Government spent €1.3 million on private B&B emergency accommodation in the Midlands and for every €1 that Midlands Simon Community receives in funding to provide homeless services it has to raise €1 in donations, which they say is unsustainable.

The Midlands Simon Community have said that there is an urgent need for increased funding to meet the needs of homeless people across the Midlands, Mr Cooney putting the need starkly.

“We’re struggling every month, looking to see if there’s enough money there to meet the wages and to keep the services going and we just need that additional funding to reflect what is happening,” Mr Cooney remarked.

Sophia and Midlands Simon Community are collaborative partners, together the two organisations provide supports to over 150 people the Midlands. In the coming years the two organisations have the potential to provide 145 supported homes for people in need of housing.

However, Sophia and Midlands Simon Community CEO, Tony O’Riordan, has noted an urgent need to speed up the process of funding and greenlighting these projects to meet the growing and immediate need of people experiencing homelessness across the midlands.

Midlands Simon Community and Sophia have specialised in adapting and developing the Housing First model through providing housing with Support. The Midlands Simon Community’s Regional Support Service (homelessness ) supports over 108 cases at any one time.

“We urgently need the Department of Housing to speed up the pace of reviewing applications and approving applications and bring an urgency to responding to the issue, which is now a crisis,” Mr O’Riordan remarked.

Sophia has been approached by religious congregations who are providing lands and buildings which are being developed into homes for people who have experienced homelessness across the Midlands.


Page generated in 0.1268 seconds.