South Antrim MLAs mark launch of Simon Community housing campaign

Simon Community has launched 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.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 12:27 pm

Elected representatives from South Antrim and Mid and East Antrim gathered with Simon Community management ahead of World Homelessness Day on October 10.

The charity has already successfully restored three homes in Belfast, one in Larne and a further home in Bangor.

These are now homes to people who would otherwise be homeless.

South Antrim MLA John Blair alongside Alliance Party colleagues Chris Lyttle MLA, Cllr Patricia O’Lynn and Andrew Muir MLA with Jim Dennison (Simon Community Chief Executive) and Kirsten Hewitt (Director of Homelessness Services for Simon Community).

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

The homelessness charity supports over 630 marginalised people each day across Northern Ireland and services include temporary accommodation, community outreach and housing solutions, a tenancy deposit projects service and the charity’s new private rental options.

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.”

South Antrim Alliance MLA John Blair said: “I am pleased to join the Simon Community at Parliament Buildings as they launched their new programme, Creating Homes, and marked their 50th anniversary.

Jim Dennison (Simon Community Chief Executive) with Pam Cameron MLA and Kirsten Hewitt (Director of Homelessness Services for Simon Community).

“The last 18 months have shown us the great importance of a safe and secure home, and I want to commend the organisation for their resilient campaign to end homelessness in Northern Ireland.”

DUP MLA Pam Cameron explained: “I want to commend the Simon Community as they mark their 50th birthday with the launch of their new housing programme. Homelessness remains a major problem in our society and together we must work to greater tackle not only the present housing waiting lists but also the initial causes of homelessness.”

Sinn Fein MLA Declan Kearney added: “Successfully addressing the homeless crisis in our society is central to how we tackle inequality, poverty and improve mental health and overall wellbeing.

“Investing in housing solutions is about building a stronger community and ensuring everyone has a stake in the future.”

Jim Dennison (Simon Community Chief Executive) with Declan Kearney MLA and Kirsten Hewitt (Director of Homelessness Services for Simon Community).

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