Dublin Simon Community has been Vuzion’s corporate charity for a number of years and following the success of the Charity Raffle at the recent Vuzion Cloud Awards I had the opportunity to learn more about the work of the charity by going on the “Dublin Simon Soup Run” in the capital. A big thank you to Stephanie Nolan and Pat Greene for organising the evening and giving me a much deeper insight into the work of the charity.
The need for charities such as Dublin Simon Community seems to be bigger than ever with three major factors creating a perfect storm of challenges – the chronic shortage of housing, the war in Ukraine and associated refugee influx (Ireland is already hosting more than 50,000 refugees and is taking ~100 new refugees every day), and the consequential cost of living crisis brought about through soaring energy bills. With Simon Community’s 50+ year history, the name “Dublin Simon Soup Run” has a lot of meaning and comfort for those it engages as first point of contact on the street.
As Pat explained the current position across Ireland and in Dublin in particular, I was struck by the incredible complexity of how the state and charities work together to help those in need, along with the passion and energy that so many volunteers have to help those in need.
As we walked through Dublin, I saw a number of “Soup Stations” that I may not have noticed or realised what they were, if not for Pat’s explanation. During our “Soup Run” we met and helped a number of homeless clients. One of the underlying root causes of homelessness, drug & alcohol dependency, was clear to see, particularly with single adults and I was surprised to witness the varied responses to the offer of help, from a clear willingness to be helped to passive indifference.
The scale of homelessness is masked with how the numbers are counted and reported, with only those who use a homeless accommodation during the 3rd week of each month included. This is reported as the monthly figure. However its good that monthly trends are published and that political and media conversation keeps the spotlight on the issues.
Having seen first-hand the impact of alcohol and drug dependency, hearing about the extent of homeless, housing and treatment support provided by Dublin Simon and especially the building of their 100-bed homeless specific medical treatment facility, and the journey the charity has been on to make it a reality was truly inspiring. It has increased my desire to ensure that we do all we can at Vuzion to support their efforts in the months and years ahead.