MLAs back Simon Community Creating Homes to mark 50 years

Local MLAs have praised the Simon Community for launching a new ‘Creating Homes’ programme to buy as well as manage 50 homes for people who are homeless as part of its 50th birthday celebrations.

Pictured alongside MLA Cara Hunter (centre) are Simon Community Chief Executive Jim Dennison, and Director of Homelessness Services for Simon Community Kirsten Hewitt.

The leading homelessness charity supports over 630 marginalised people each day.

Its priority is to prevent homelessness with tailored approaches that tackle the issue of homelessness as well as providing specialist support services for clients.

The charity’s Chief Executive, Jim Dennison, met with MLAs at Parliament Buildings to outline plans, which includes recruiting an Assets Development Manager who will oversee the acquisition and management of rental properties in areas of highest need.

Pictured alongside MLA Maurice Bradley are Simon Community Chief Executive Jim Dennison, and Director of Homelessness Services for Simon Community Kirsten Hewitt.

From delivering soup to rough sleepers on the streets of Belfast, the charity has come a long way since it was established in 1971. It now boasts an impressive variety of services including temporary accommodation, community outreach and housing solutions, a tenancy deposit projects service and the charity’s new private rental options.

Launching the initiative ahead of world homelessness day on 10 October, Jim Dennison, Chief Executive at Simon Community said: “We are in a homelessness crisis. The NIHE’s own statistics show that homelessness services are currently not meeting demand, and that demand is predicted to grow in the coming years. This initiative is a response to that crisis.”

Speaking about the launch East Londonderry MLA Maurice Bradley said: “I welcome this initiative by the Simon Community.

“As an office we work closely with the Simon Community in Coleraine through Jamie Lee and Stephen which includes housing issues, ID cards, health issues and homelessness so this initiative is both timely and welcome.

Jim Dennison Simon Community Chief Executive, Mervyn Storey MLA, and Director of Homelessness Services for Simon Community Kirsten Hewitt.

“Many people become marginalised within the community through addictions, mental health or in need of temporary accommodation.

“ As an MLA, I am acutely aware we are in a homeless crisis across Northern Ireland in general and the Causeway Coast and Glens in particular.

“I would be delighted to support the Simon Community Creating Homes.

“As a charity, the work that Simon Community do, is often below the radar, some 6,000 volunteer hours annually, helping the vulnerable to live in dependently, offering support to clients suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, sheltered support are only a fraction of the service they provide.

Jim Dennison Simon Community Chief Executive, Philip McGuigan MLA, and Director of Homelessness Services for Simon Community Kirsten Hewitt

“But, having a home, a roof over one’s head, is a fundamental right to all and to have that security helps build confidence and a sense of community, an opportunity to integrate back into society.”

To find out more about how your business can support Creating Homes or to enquire about support for you or a loved one visit simmoncommunity.org contact Simon Community on 028 9023 2882.