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Simon Community Optimistic About Ending Homelessness

27 June 2023

Simon Community NI CEO Jim Dennison at Prince Williams Homewards Round Table

Simon Community NI Chief Executive Jim Dennison participating in the Homewards Partnership roundtable at East Belfast Mission

Simon Community, Northern Ireland’s leading homeless charity, is collaborating with Prince William, The Royal Foundation and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive over the next five years as part of a transformational new programme, Homewards, which aims to demonstrate that together, it is possible to end homelessness – making it rare, brief and unrepeated.

Northern Ireland is one of six flagship Homewards locations, which will be given new space, tools, and relationships to showcase what can be achieved through a collective effort focused on preventing homelessness in their areas, with results and findings from each location being used to create a flexible, tried, and tested model that can be adopted by other areas in the UK and internationally.

Welcoming this new programme, Simon Community CEO Jim Dennison said,

“Everyone has a responsibility to tackle the stigma associated with homelessness, and in recent years Northern Ireland has seen a shift in the types of people presenting as homeless. More and more, it is an issue that is affecting women, children and young people, and the stigma around homelessness is only making it worse. The instability of hidden homelessness, as people try to sofa surf, sleep in their car and move in with distant relatives leads to instability which can have a devastating knock-on effect on their health, education, and employment.”

“It has long been recognised that greater partnership is essential to ending homelessness, so it is absolutely fantastic to have someone as high profile as Prince William choosing to shine a light on the issue and bring together the expertise needed to end homelessness once and for all.

On average, 250 people and families become homeless every week in Northern Ireland, and Simon Community has seen a significant change in the type of households presenting as homeless. Women now account for a third of its client base, almost half of new clients are under 25. Jim Dennison says he doesn’t want to have to imagine a place without homelessness. Instead, he wants to work with strategic partners to make it a reality.

“No child grows up wanting to be homeless yet so many children here are growing up to become homeless. People deserve better, they deserve safety and security. I am optimistic that, with the added focus on homelessness, we can provide a better future for everyone”.

“Ending homelessness has and always will need collaboration; we are up for the challenge and hope that individuals and organisations from all sectors of society will join us on that journey. We need responsible businesses to financially support projects and employ those experiencing homelessness, we need academic institutions that help us find a pathway to success, and we need a coordinated response from the public sector to ensure we have the wrap around support for people when they are at the lowest point in their lives.”

Over the last 12 months Simon Community has received over 15,000 calls to its homelessness support line from people in desperate need of a safe, secure and affordable home.

About Homewards

You can find further details on the programme, locations, partners, research, and case studies on the Homewards website – - that launched on Monday 26th June.

About Simon Community

For more information about Simon Community NI visit: