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Tents erected by the homeless by Dublin's Royal Canal Sam Boal/

Nearly enough people to fill the 3Arena urgently sought help from Simon Communities last year

Over 11,000 people went to the charity for help in 2016.

THE SIMON COMMUNITIES of Ireland have said that there was an increase of 33% in the number of people seeking its help last year, according to figures published in its 2016 annual report.

The homelessness charity recorded increases in access to its services across the board as just over 11,000 people came to it looking for assistance. For example, this is almost enough people to fill to reach the capacity of the 3Arena, which can fit 13,000.

This included 1,417 families with 2,860 children. That number is closely linked to the current homelessness figures, with 5,000 adults and over 3,000 children set to spend Christmas in emergency accommodation.

With such a large increase in the numbers accessing services from the Simon Communities, its national spokesperson Niamh Randall said that 2017 has seen the problems continue to worsen.

She said: “Every person has their own story; what is common to all is that homelessness and housing insecurity is traumatic, stressful and filled with uncertainty.

The Simon Communities see this impact each and every day all across the country.

Across its range of services, the charity supported 2,818 people into housing all over the country.

It helped 1,150 people access emergency accommodation, 2,925 accessed specialist treatment and support services, and 4,547 people access prevention, early intervention and advice services.

All this work was supported by 2,500 volunteers around the country.

Randall said that the government’s policy to tackle the homelessness problem to date has not worked, and it can and must do better in 2018.

She added: “We need the State, in conjunction with Local Authority and Approved Housing Bodies, to build social and affordable housing across all tenure types within sustainable communities nationwide; to prevent more people from becoming homeless; and to address the complex or multiple needs that can be a cause or consequence of homelessness.

The New Year will ring in with more than 5,000 adults and 3,000 children living in emergency accommodation, with many more trapped in housing insecurity and hidden in doorways and squats across our towns and cities…. this is not acceptable for any man, woman or child in Ireland in 2018.

Read: Former Georgian hotel in Dublin’s city centre opens as hostel after years of objections

Read: ‘People are dying’: One year after Apollo House and homelessness is worse than ever

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