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Additional Support Services

Young People Support Services

Simon Community NI are committed to supporting young people so they have a place that they can call home.

Young people who are homeless are recognised as one of the most vulnerable groups in our society, who, if not adequately supported will enter the adult cycle of homelessness. In Simon Community NI 35% of our clients are under the age of 25 years.

We support young people in a range of ways to enable them to reach their full potential. At Simon Community NI we believe that through nurturing and supporting young people they can have a bright and stable future. Through providing safe and secure supported accommodation projects, with compassionate staff working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, young people are able to rebuild their lives, harness their strengths and talents and take their first steps to independence.

Services 1

A flavour of our work:

  • Bespoke Young people’s Accommodation Projects for young people leaving care and young people who are homeless. Situated in Belfast and Coleraine, our three young people accommodation projects support almost 60 young people each day aged from 16 – 21 years.
  • A Flexible Outreach Service: This is a new and highly innovative project, delivered in partnership with Northern Health and Social Care Trust and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. We support young people aged 16-18, to find community based accommodation and provide 24 hour support to young people in their own homes. A service that is based on “stickability”, supporting very vulnerable young people to feel safe and secure.
  • A Floating Support Service
  • A dedicated Participation Worker who ensures that young people’s voice is at the heart of our work, delivering individual and group work to young people, which is led by them.

Health & Wellbeing Support Services

People experiencing homelessness often have a range of complex issues that need to be addressed before successful independent living can be achieved. Drug and alcohol dependency can be extremely detrimental to independent living. We offer a range of tailored support services in this area to reduce its impact on an individual’s future opportunities.

Our aim is to offer a flexible, responsive and person-focused service to best meet the varied needs of the people we work with who are experiencing issues with drug and alcohol use. With this in mind, we provide clients with general support for their substance use issues as well as more specialised support for those with combined mental health and substance use issues.

Specialist Support

We employ specialist Dual Diagnosis Practitioners to address the significant gap in treating individuals with co-existing mental health and substance use issues. This Dual Diagnosis Team works with clients presenting with these challenges, offering intensive therapeutic sessions for 6-12 weeks (depending on need) and exploring treatment pathways. The team also advises and mentors Accommodation Support Workers to ensure consistent support for the client, and advocates for appropriate treatment options for all clients with dual issues.

Group 1

General Support

We have recruited and trained 16 Support Workers as Drug and Alcohol Support Workers to assist the Dual Diagnosis Team at the frontline of homelessness. These trained workers assist clients living in our Projects who request support, or have been identified through Needs Assessment and Support Planning as requiring support with substance use issues. This provides a dedicated Drug and Alcohol Support Worker at each of our accommodation projects, who are able to offer screening, intervention and motivational support, individual and group diversionary activities, and to monitor if an individual requires more or less specialist support.

The overarching aim of our Health & Wellbeing Service is to give individuals ownership of their treatment plan. Some may want to achieve a reduction in drug/alcohol consumption to within sensible limits; some may want to abstain from drug use/drinking; others may not want to change their drug use/drinking patterns. Offering a flexible range of interventions that are designed to meet a range of goals encourages more people to engage with the process and positively change their behaviours.

Outreach Support

During the last year, our Outreach Team (funded by PHA) supported 252 people experiencing drug and alcohol problems living within Simon Community NI Projects and in the community across the South Eastern Trust region. This team explores and develops improved treatment pathways, determines and implements the appropriate therapy required, responds to the needs of the client and monitors the ongoing level of support needed.

Offending Behaviour

Simon Community NI’s primary role is to provide temporary and emergency accommodation for people aged 16 and over experiencing homelessness in Northern Ireland. Many of the people with whom we work have had some experience of the criminal justice system; as offenders, victims, or both. As a result, Simon Community NI also provides a range of services which support rehabilitation, reduce re-offending, and improve community safety and cohesion.

Many factors can contribute to a person’s decision to offend, including issues with substance misuse; a lack of emotional well-being; the pressure of debt; lack of employment and training opportunities; poor social networks; and inadequate housing and homelessness. These same issues might make them vulnerable to victimisation. In collaboration with other statutory and voluntary bodies, Simon Community NI provides support for individuals to transform the aspects of their lives they wish to change.

Some of these factors can have straightforward solutions, while others are more complex. Our accommodation-based staff support clients by developing budget and financial management plans to control existing debt and prevent future money problems. Additionally, many of our clients do not have access to adequate health services, due to their transient or unsettled lifestyles. Successfully registering them with a GP is often the first step to accessing the services they need, for example mental health or addiction services.

Parallel to this practical assistance, our 24-hour staffed Accommodation Projects provide support, which promote pro-social values, i.e. social sensitivity, empathy, optimism, family cohesiveness and self-confidence. This supports the positive choices clients can make for themselves, the control they aspire to achieve over their lives and outcomes; and ultimately their ability to desist from anti-social or offending behaviour.

Simon Community NI provides a range of housing related support including housing advice, advocacy, budgeting, independent living skills and dual diagnoses. In addition our staff teams have extensive knowledge of a range of community services, to which they can refer or signpost clients. The support we provide is free from bias, prejudice and discrimination, and considers the diverse needs of all clients. All of this can contribute to a reduction in reoffending and consequently provide a safer and more secure community for all.