Thomas Pringle TD

North West Simon Community to cease operations

Thomas Pringle TD - North West Simon Community to cease operations

North West Simon Community has announced that it has made the difficult decision to wind up operations, due to the inability to secure increased funding.

The charity will go into receivership in the coming weeks.

The volunteer North West Simon Community board said its focus will be on ensuring the charity’s clients and service users are taken care of during the transition, as it works to transfer its properties to another approved housing body or the relevant local authority.

Established in 2005, North West Simon Community provides social housing in Donegal and Leitrim, and early intervention and homelessness prevention services in Donegal, Leitrim and Sligo. North West Simon Community has a staff of seven people.

Board Chairperson, Donegal TD Thomas Pringle, said: “The last three financial statements published on our website have reflected the ongoing financial insecurity North West Simon has experienced, and we have been trying to resolve this issue over these last years.

“In September of last year, we were told that the three local authorities – Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim – had been unsuccessful in their attempts to secure Departmental approval to support the maintenance of our homeless prevention services.

“Unfortunately, it has come to this point that we cannot prudently go on any longer. We have a responsibility to tenants, all service users and staff, and ultimately, following lengthy discussions and considerations, we had to take the difficult decision to wind up operations.

“The well-being of North West Simon clients and all service users has always been our priority and will remain our priority. They are understandably very concerned about their future and we will continue to do all we can to ensure that people are taken care of during this period of transition.

“On behalf of the board, I also want to pay tribute to the North West Simon Community staff members, who have always been so committed to our clients and dedicated to the mission of North West Simon. Even as this is a difficult time for them as well, their concerns have been for clients and service users.

“We also want to thank all those who have supported North West Simon Community over the past 19 years, whose generosity has helped to make such an impact on the people who have relied on our services,” he said.

North West Simon Community met in July 2022 with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage to discuss its financial situation and discussions with local authorities and the Department have been ongoing through 2022 and 2023.

Also in 2022, the board of directors took the decision to utilise its reserves to maintain services at existing levels while campaigning for increased funding, and all board meetings since that point have monitored the impact of that decision. North West Simon has maintained support to all service users and upkeep of its properties in that time, though continued reliance on reserves is not sustainable.

In 2022, North West Simon Community provided support and/or accommodation to households comprising 122 adults and 50 children in County Donegal; and to households comprising 116 adults and 113 children in County Leitrim; and provided support services to households comprising 80 adults and 98 children in County Sligo.

North West Simon Community owns 19 one- and two-bed apartments in Donegal and two four-bed semi-detached houses in Leitrim, which they are working to transfer to another approved housing body or the relevant local authority. The charity has no significant debt or long-term liabilities.

The average monthly expenditures for North West Simon Community are €25,000. A variety of fundraising activities provide, on average, about 64 per cent of its operating income.