Students sleeping at the ATU Mayo Sports Field for Simon Community




Two students are hosting a Simon Community Party at the ATU grounds in Castlebar this Friday to raise awareness of the current homelessness crisis in Ireland.

Lauren Lynch and Dominyka Repeckaite, fourth-year students at ATU Castlebar, will be among a group of students camping at the ATU sports field this Friday evening, September 30, from 7 p.m. next morning.

The Simon Community aims to tackle and prevent homelessness in Ireland.

Speaking to the Connaught Telegraph, Lauren said: ‘We understand that everyone in Ireland is struggling financially. But the people who are most confronted with it are certainly the people of the street. We have houses we can go back to and they don’t. The statistics in the northwest are shocking, as 70 people in the area are sleeping on the streets.

“Outside of the Simon community, I have never seen any support for the homeless from the council or the government. Even in the budget there was no support.

“The Simon community is about making sure people know we’re here and they’re not forgotten.”

“I was surprised by the homelessness situation,” added Dominyka, from Lithuania. “You would earn a lot more here than in Lithuania, but there are a lot of people here on the streets. It’s crazy.”

Homelessness is not just about rough sleepers. It can also mean people living in overcrowded or inappropriate housing, commonly referred to as the hidden homeless, with rent just too high.

Lauren said: ‘I have a lot of friends who had to live in vans. The reason people do that is because it’s cheaper than a house, and that’s absolutely ridiculous. Minister (Simon) Harris has said tuition will be reduced to a great deal to help, but that has disappeared on rent. Fees should be removed.

“You have people who are not eligible for SUSI, like me. I have no right to anything. I can’t help the government. My mother is a single mother. I might be homeless, but my mom is a great person, so I have a house. There are people worse off than me. How are they supposed to find anything?

You can learn more and donate to the Simon community at: https://galwaysimon.ie/.

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