The annual Simon Corporate Sleep out in aid of Midwest Simon took place at Thomond Park on Saturday night.
The sleep out raises awareness of the homelessness situation in Limerick and informs people of the Midwest Simon charity that is available to them.
In attendee at the event was Cllr Deputy Mayor of Limerick City and County Council Noel Gleeson, Cllr Vivienne Crowley, Midwest Simon General Manager Jackie Bonfield, Munster player Duncan Casey, CEO of Irish Mortgage Holders David Hall, Jan O Sullivan and TD Maurice Quinlivan.
During the event Ms Bonfield said that the monies raised tonight would go towards helping staff carry out key work on a day to day basis.
“We are working with people who don’t have food on the table, they are losing their homes because their rent has increased or their losing their homes because they can sustain their mortgages. We would have key workers going out there that deal with these people every day of the week. So the monies we raise on events like tonight go towards funding staff to do that key work which is so important for us to do on a day today basis,” she said.
Munster player Duncan Casey who is an ambassador for Midwest Simon said he has “been blown away by the scale” that the homelessness situation has got “in limerick and beyond.”
“In the last six or seven months, I have noticed the number of people sleeping rough that you wouldn’t have necessarily seen before. We saw the tragic case of Louise Casey during the week, she was living in a squat.”
Mr Casey continued, “There’s been some excitement with Midwest Simon recently. With the support of the council which has been very welcomed, we have purchased speakers corner and that will result in an office and four two bed apartments being built.”
CEO of the Irish Mortgage Holders Organisation David Hall explained that there is a new type of homelessness, people who never believed they would be facing homelessness.
“Currently there is vast numbers on social housing lists in the entire country there’s around 100,000 currently. In the background there’s hidden, homeless, there’s a hidden crisis of a phenomenal time bomb of 34,000 families,” he said.
Commenting on Midwest Simon campaign Mr Hall said, “Today is about raising awareness, raising money and supporting services of a very good service provider in the area. Best of luck tonight and best of luck to Midwest Simon and all that has been done and I think it’s a hugely positive event for a whole host of reasons.”
Also in attendance, TD Maurice Quinlivan said, “I just want to commend everybody who is involved in tonight’s event. It raises much need funds but also raises the issue of homeless in Limerick.”
Mr Quinlivan explained that we see our friends, family and people we work with becoming homeless.
“The crisis doesn’t seem to be getting solved, its worsening on a daily basis. It’s a massive crisis, it’s getting worse, I think the government need to declare a national emergency and that’s what it is and we need to deal with it. We need to put the funding in but there are multiple things we need to be doing but one of them is building massively, building social housing and building houses that people can afford to buy as well,” he said.