Having been providing a tenancy support service to the people of Leitrim through its office in Manorhamilton, the North West Simon Community recently opened an office in Carrick-on-Shannon which held an open day on Wednesday last. North West Simon had a presence in Carrick-on-Shannon prior to the opening of the office on Park Lane but now members of the public and those seeking assistance will have somewhere they can drop in and avail of a chat in an informal environment.
Discussing the work carried out, Claire McTiernan, CEO North West Simon Community explained, “North West Simon has been providing a tenancy support service since mid 2008 to people in their own homes as a result of referrals to our Manorhamilton office. We felt we needed a base in Carrick-on-Shannon where people could see us.”
Speaking about the significance of the new office Claire said, “It will serve as a drop-in place, people didn’t know Simon were there and people prefer to have a place to visit.”
The importance of having a premises of their own in Carrick-on-Shannon has been illustrated by the increased number of people who are availing of North West Simon’s services since the opening of the office. Claire commented, “There has been an increase of 10 (people) a week on what we were doing. We help people with everything from rent allowance, social welfare payments and challenges with form filling.”
North West Simon Community is a not for profit organisation working to prevent and address homelessness in counties Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal. It does this in partnership with voluntary and statutory agencies in the region. As a charity it provides care and support services that work to prevent people from becoming homeless and enable people to move to a place they can call home.
Established in 2005 in response to a study that identified gaps in the provision of services in the region, North West Simon Community has since developed a range of services to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people in our society today.
Speaking about the issue of homelessness Claire said North West Simon have been aware of three people who were homeless since the opening of the office in the county town. “There were three people that we’re aware of in the Carrick-on-Shannon area. One of those people had nowhere to go so we worked with the St Vincent de Paul and local authority to provide rent allowance.”
Discussing some of the issues that lead to homelessness Claire explained, “People become homeless for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they move in with friends but then they have no home of their own. We offer a place where they can register with the County Council and organise a housing assessment meeting.” Highlighting another problem Claire said, “There has been no Council housing built in the last couple of years.”