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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Crunch in Ireland

May 23 2009
Homelessness is "critical" and will rise further, says Simon Community The number of those sleeping rough in Ireland has risen to a critical level since the start of the year and is expected to soar even more in coming months as a direct result of the current economic downturn, the Simon Community in Dublin has reported. "All communities are seeing increasing numbers of people at risk of homelessness due to the economic downturn," Patrick Burke, chief executive of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the prevailing economic conditions mean we are likely to see more and more people experiencing homelessness and at risk of homelessness over the coming year," he added. The Simon Communities of Ireland, which include eight local communities, saw demand for the services for its Dublin Rough Sleeper Team rise by 48% during the first six months of 2008. Dundalk Simon estimated there had been a 40 per cent increase in demand for its night shelter in recent months, and the Midlands Simon Community received more referrals as at the end of August than in the whole 2007. Burke said there was extreme concern that next year - unless there was an increase in funding - the communities would be forced to make cutbacks, which could impact on the services they deliver. The extent of the pressure on homeless services comes to light soon after the release of a government's homeless strategy, which pledges to ensure no homeless person will have to sleep rough or remain longer than six months in emergency accommodation within two years.