Thursday 18 October 2018

Ladies lunch for Simon

Jessica Farry

Increasing rents in the private sector mean more people are forced to use the services of The North West Simon Community.

The charity worked with 52 cases last year in Sligo, to prevent families and individuals from going into direct homeless service provision.

All cases had specific housing needs, for example; struggling to obtain private rented accommodation; not on the social housing system; asked to leave accommodation; living in inappropriate accommodation; over-crowding; etc.

Thirty eight were from county Sligo (mostly South Sligo, Tubbercurry and surrounds). Eighteen cases were resettled into HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) and/or secured their current tenancies; 12 looked for housing information and advice; 10 are still searching for accommodation; three are completing housing applications; three moved to an emergency hostel; and nine remain active with ongoing support.

Most notably, North West Simon saw 26 families (14 were from Tusla and all referred were in a crisis situation). Out of the 26 families referred, 11 were settled in HAP; two in County Council housing; and remaining cases are ongoing or waiting on social housing applications to be processed.

For individuals referred to housing support, 40 have mental health difficulties recorded.

This year more people presented to the North West Simon Community who never previously required housing support.

The main reason for this was that rents have increased so much in the private sector.

People are now forced to secure accommodation above their rent cap because there is nothing else available. There is very limited availability of rental properties in Sligo town, and all are above the rent caps, with rents averaging €800-€900 monthly for a family home, and €650-€700 for a single person.

The North West Simon Community deal with the hidden homeless or the invisible homeless as they are referred to as opposed to street homelessness or rough sleepers. It is dealing with the phenomenon of 'hidden homelessness' with many people stranded in inadequate or emergency accommodation.

North West Simon Community's Outreach Service is there for people who need support to keep their homes or who are at risk of tenancy breakdown.

The charity has an outreach worker in Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal.

Meanwhile, on Sunday last (January 7th), in the wonderful surrounds of Kilronan Castle over 320 glamorous ladies gathered to celebrate Women's little Christmas in style and for the charity.

Organiser of the event for four years Mary Mc Keon said: "The event was a massive success this year with over 320 ladies seated for a fantastic three course meal with wine, the event is getting better every year".

MC on the day was RTE's Eileen Magnier, a voluntary Board member of North West Simon Community.

Ten ladies were presented with a gift bag from Salon 2 in Sligo for "Who makes you smile" Competition each with a €200 voucher for David Mc Conville Orthodontics enclosed. The overall winner received a David McConville Orthodontics Voucher for €2,000 and a goodie bag from Salon 2 to include a €50 voucher. The ladies really put a huge effort into the 'Splash of Yellow' and as a result four winners were picked by Bernie Delaney, Style Coach.

Although the cause - North West Simon Community and homelessness is a very serious issue the day itself is always lots of fun. The NoteOrious4 really added to this year's event with their beautiful singing and Liam Gannon, Harmony Weddings ended off the event beautifully.

Organisers wish to thank the following for their kind sponsorship: David Mc Conville Orthodontics, Feehily's Florists, Salon 2, Markievicz Pharmacy, John Murphy, Michelle Baxter, Kilronan Castle, Taylor's Interior Boyle, Eileen Forrestal from Get Up and Go and all who donated spot prizes.

Traditionally, Nollaig na mBan was a day for women to relieve themselves of household duties and revel with female friends. The custom on Women's Little Christmas is that women get a much needed rest after catering to everyone during the festivities.

All money raised from this event goes towards the housing support service in the region. Now in its fourth year this event has raised over €35,000.

Sligo Champion