Simon Community NI launches S.I.M.O.N App to help people who are homeless with support from Diarmuid Gavin
An app, the first of its kind in the UK, will empower local people to help the most vulnerable in our community, those who are homeless.
The mobile app is a unique collaboration between the homelessness charity, Simon Community Northern Ireland and the Housing Executive and will play a key role in preventing homelessness, the most extreme form of which can be rough sleeping.
The launch was held in the Long Gallery in Parliament Buildings, hosted by the Chair of the Social Development Committee Alex Maskey MLA, on Thursday. The free app, known as ‘Support In My Own Neighbourhood’ (SIMON), was developed by Simon Community and supported by the Housing Executive’s Supporting People programme.
It is the first time that the general public will be able to take action, allowing easy access to homelessness services in their locality, make a referral to services or ‘report a risk’ if they are worried about someone.
The app has five tabs showing the location of services including Simon Community accommodation, Housing Executive offices, hostels, floating support providers, Housing and Gateway teams, Help (emergency provision, food banks etc) and local transport.
Jim Dennison, Chief Executive of the Simon Community, said:
“Simon Community is proud to have led the development of this innovative application, which is the first of its kind.
“The S.I.M.O.N app is an easy-to-use tool with the potential to improve a great many peoples’ lives. It is a shining example of collaborative working between the homelessness sector, the Housing Executive and the commercial sector.
“For the first time, those concerned about the well-being of people in need can take action and direct them straight to the services they require.”
Anne Sweeney, Assistant Director of the Housing Executive’s Supporting People, said:
“This app empowers all of us, individually and collectively, to help those who, for whatever reason, are without a roof over their heads.
“The Housing Executive is delighted that in supporting Simon, our delivery partner, we have embraced the use of cutting edge technology to address the needs and find solutions for the most vulnerable in our neighbourhoods.
“This intuitive piece of digital technology represents the best of partnership working between the Housing Executive and the Simon Community.”
Alex Maskey MLA Chair of the Assembly Committee for Social Development added:
“As Chairperson of the Assembly Committee for Social Development, I am delighted to be here today to support the launch of the S.I.M.O.N app, which we first heard about during a presentation from Simon Community NI last summer.
“Local homelessness has been on the increase in recent years, with more and more people affected by the current economic crisis and more of our young people finding themselves without homes. The Simon Community NI took over 33k calls to its helpline last year and half of its residents are under twenty five years old. These are stark and worrying statistics and it is clear that we all must do more to help those at risk of homelessness.”
“I have no doubt that this innovative app, the first of its kind to be launched in either the UK or Ireland, will prove to be a valuable resource to those affected by homelessness, those at risk and for those of us who wish to help the homeless in getting the assistance and support they so desperately need. My Committee will do all that it can to encourage local MLAs, representatives and the public in general to download this app and to reach out a helping hand to the homeless, particularly as we enter the Christmas season.”
To download the app to your iPhone or Android then go to the App store and search for Simon Community.