Dundalk Simon Community is facing a situation where it will have to fundraise just to keep the lights and heat on.
That’s according to Trina Harpur, Service Manager, who reveals that their heat and lighting bills have already gone up by 30 per cent.
This is a huge burden on the organisation which has to cope with the rising costs of living at it caters for 33 people in the Barrack Street Hostel as well as a four-bedroom house in Castle Road and the Day Service in Seatown Place.
It’s not just their energy costs which are going up but the cost of providing food for their clients.
"We order mostly from cash and carries but their prices have gone up and we are now looking at providing hot meals for those using the day service as people are struggling to put food on the table.”
It’s not just their bills that are being impacted by the soaring costs but also the delivery of services.
"We would normally be moving on 35 people a year into their own accommodation but with the housing crisis this has slowed down this year. We are seeing people staying in services longer, so that the waiting list increases because we are not getting people out the other end,” says Trina. “People are here longer and this adds to mental health issues and hopelessness.”
“Our Day Service has just reopened and one of the things we’re seeing is a huge increase in the numbers of people whom we would have helped in the past who are really struggling to make ends meet.”
She says that “at the minute we do sandwiches at lunchtime and we will probably look at doing hot meals to respond to the needs of people. This will be another cost factor for us.”
The high cost of living is also acting as a deterrent to people who would normally be moving out into their own accommodation.
"People are having fears around moving out of the hostel. They are wondering how they will be able to move on and survive on the dole. It’s making people nervous who ordinarily would be feeling excited about moving on.”