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Homeless Charity Relaunches Campaign to Highlight COVID-19 Related Isolation

03 December 2020

Haw 2020 Twitter Image

To mark Homelessness Awareness Day NI on 8th December, leading homelessness charity Simon Community NI have repurposed their international award-winning Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) campaign to help raise awareness of the thousands of people who have experienced both homelessness and COVID-19 isolation during 2020. 

Self-isolation, a term that once seemed so far removed from everyday life, has now become part of the ‘new normal’ for society. For many individuals, COVID was a hard adjustment that resulted in restrictions to shopping or the freedom to travel and socialise. Even visiting family was surrounded by worry as the vulnerable shielded and their loved ones resorted to waving at them through windows.

But, for people who were homeless during 2020, feelings of isolation were amplified by the global pandemic as some of the most marginalised individuals were asked to further isolate from society, making them even less visible and bringing with it a new set of fears and worries. One year on from the launch of Simon Community’s ASMR films, which were viewed by millions around the globe, individuals experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness find themselves in a much different world filled with uncertainty and greater loneliness.

Speaking about his experience of homelessness during lockdown, client Stephen commented: 

I am sick of it. I am bored trying to fill my day by going on walks or visits to the shops. I find it tough not socialising and being able to do what I normally would. I am however grateful to have a roof over my head.

With a mission to help end homelessness in Northern Ireland, the work of Simon Community has never been more vital in the year in which the limelight has been shone on the importance of a safe place to call home. By continuing to operate accommodation services, recruit additional staff, turn services digital and redeploy staff, the charity was able to provide shelter and support each day of the pandemic for up to 636 individuals, including young people and families. 

Speaking about Simon Community’s support during isolation, Derry client Roisin commented:

I struggle with not being able to have face to face contact with my children. It is lonely but I have been using the arts and craft supplies gifted by the charity to create cards for my kids to send in the post each week. They are my way of letting them know that I miss them.

By re-releasing its series of ASMR videos, below, Simon Community hopes to evoke empathy by letting audiences experience what it can feel like to be isolated and invisible during a pandemic. You can help the charity raise awareness of homelessness in NI by sharing their work and raising vital funds by creating a Social Media Fundraiser over the month of December.

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