Cork Simon works in solidarity with men and women who are homeless in Cork, offering housing and support in their journey back to independent living.
Our Outreach Team works on the street and from our Day Service, supporting people sleeping rough, surviving in squats or people who have no other option but to stay with friends – people on the very edge of homelessness. Last year the team supported 360 people in such circumstances, and many more who were at risk of losing their housing.
The Soup Run was Cork Simon’s first ever service back in 1971 and continues to operate every night of the year. A team of part-time volunteers, often joined by a member of our Outreach Team, offers hot food and a listening ear in a warm, friendly, non-judgemental environment. In 2014 our Soup Run provided over 1,200 hot meals.
Our Emergency Shelter is located on Anderson’s Quay, in the heart of Cork city centre. The Shelter provides care, accommodation and one-to-one support for 47 people around-the-clock, every day of the year. Demand for emergency beds is high – we frequently have to turn people away because the Shelter is fully occupied.
Our Day Service on Anderson’s Quay is home to a specialist team of doctors, nurses and other health professionals who provide the most appropriate healthcare for people who are sleeping rough or staying in our Emergency Shelter. The Day Service houses other specialist services, including Youth Homeless Drug Prevention, Employment & Training, and Activities.
Our Youth Homeless Drug Prevention Programme works specifically with 18 to 26 year olds who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and who are either at risk of drug use or are active drug users. The programme offers a range of direct one-to-one supports, and refers people to other services as appropriate. Last year the programme supported 58 young people.
Cork’s Adult Homeless Multi-Disciplinary Team of doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals works specifically with people sleeping rough or staying in emergency accommodation, many of whom experience poor mental and physical health. Based in our Day Service, this specialist team is experienced in treating these complex health issues.
Our five High-Support Houses throughout Cork provide intensive levels of round-the-clock care every day for 52 men and women whose health and other personal support needs are such that they are unable to live independently. Experienced care workers and trained volunteers staff all five high-support houses 24 hours a day, everyday.
Our Housing Support Team works to a Housing-Led approach in tackling homelessness. It means supporting people to move out of homelessness as quickly as possible and into permanent housing with a tailored support package for as long as each person needs. We provide some permanent housing and we work closely with other social housing providers.
Our Employment & Training Team supports people who have often left school early and are long-term unemployed to complete their formal education, retrain and retrun to the workforce. It’s a practical way to help people build self-confidence and develop new skills. The team works closely with external education providers, training agencies and local employers.
Getting people back to work and back to participating in the wider community can make all the difference in helping to ensure people can leave homelessness behind them. Our Job Placement Programme works closely with local employers to provide direct support to people by helping them to improve their employability through short-term work placements.
Our Activities Team – also known as our A-Team, works across all Cork Simon services, creating opportunities for people to build social support networks, build self-confidence, and interact positively with the wider community. The A-Team tackles lonliness, boredom and isolation. Participation in Activities can often be a doorway to further education and training.
As a Community, we promote a socially just society and campaign for a society without homelessness. Our campaigns aim to build public support, win hearts and minds and raise awareness of the many issues relating to homelessness.
We aim to publish a research paper each year that focuses on the experiences of and challenges for people experiencing homelessness, and the solutions that need to be rolled-out to address the housing and homeless crisis in Cork. Our most recent report, ‘Home Truths’, was published in October 2016 during Simon Week. The report explores how the housing crisis is driving the homeless crisis and includes real life accounts of people’s attempts to find a home, the obstacles they face and the toll it takes.
Our campaigns range from our annual Simon Week to online campaigns and petitions, all of which offer people an opportunity to be part of the solution to homelessness. Simon Week – Seven days of Action on Homelessness, runs during the first week of October. Our most recent online campaign – Stand and Deliver, over 10,000 people signed a letter to Cabinet demanding that they stand by their promise and deliver sufficient housing to end long-term homelessness.
Carla is a Care & Support Assistant based in one of our five High-Support houses, which are staffed around the clock. “What I really love about the ethos of Cork Simon is that it gives people hope. People always get a second or a third chance. It’s very rewarding to work in an organisation that is professional while having an open door and an open heart to those in need.”
Graham is our Addiction Counsellor working with an average of 16 people per week, with another 15 people on a waiting list for counseling. “Nobody wakes up and chooses to be an addict. It creeps in insidiously and before you realise, you have been enveloped by it. The one common thing everyone has coming through my door is a feeling of desperation – we all know what that feels like.”
Patricia is the Housekeeping Assistant in our Emergency Shelter. She makes sure all resident areas are clean and comfortable for those who come to us for help.“In the last few years we have had a lot more young people stay in the Shelter. I can see that they’re completely lost and can’t find a way out of their turmoil. That’s the hardest part for me… having to see that happen to our young people.”