Galway Simon Community is calling on the people of Galway to show solidarity with those experiencing or at risk of homelessness by sleeping out on Friday October 5.
Its Sleep Out for Simon campaign, which is in its third year, is set to take place across five locations in Galway city and countym including Galway's Shop Street, Tuam, Loughrea, Corinthians RFC, and Rossaveal. One-hundred per cent of funds raised go directly towards supporting Galway Simon’s plans to extend the reach of its homelessness prevention services.
Figures released in May 2018 showed the rate of homelessness in the west of Ireland is growing at four times the national average, and faster than any other region around the country. This, coupled with a housing supply that is inadequate to meet the current demand, means the need for a focus on prevention has never been greater, says Simon.
Joan Reinhardt, services team leader with Galway Simon, says prevention is key to help combat the current crisis.
“Our prevention services are a critical part of the work we do," he says. "We believe early intervention is key to keeping people in their own homes.
"If we can prevent someone from becoming homeless in the first place, we can in turn reduce the trauma for them of having to access emergency homeless services. Prevention ultimately reduces the human and economic costs associated with homelessness.”
Connacht Rugby’s Cian Kelleher has come on board as the official brand ambassador, helping to highlight the need for funding these essential services.
Speaking about his partnership with Galway Simon, Kelleher says it was his desire to give back to the community, as well as his personal experience that led him to support the homeless charity.
“I arrived in Galway in 2016 to play with the Connacht Rugby team and I was really blown away by the warmth of the people here. I feel really strongly now about wanting to give back to the community,” he says.
“When I was in school, I knew of someone who sadly slipped into homelessness and who has since passed away. This really shocked me and it’s one of the reasons I’m supporting Galway Simon Community.”
To take part in one of Galway Simon’s planned sleep-outs or if for people who would like to get a group together to host their own sleep-out event, contact Claire on 091-381828. For more information or to register for the Sleep Out, visit www.galwaysimon.ie