Dublin Simon Community has launched its annual “Longest Day” campaign, joined by supporters Maia Dunphy and Glenda Gilson. This year’s campaign will take the form of a step challenge, with participants being asked to walk 21,000 steps this June 21st in solidarity with people who walk the streets all day long.
The tagline for this year’s campaign is “you’re always on the go when there’s nowhere to go”, with inspiration for the step challenge coming directly from the experiences of Dublin Simon Community’s clients.
Megan Buggle, Outreach Worker at Dublin Simon Community said: “Our role on the Dublin Simon Outreach team is to support people sleeping rough and help them access emergency accommodation. On shift, the team could easily clock up 20,000 steps each. As for the people we help, it’s often a lot more. For people experiencing homelessness, a lot of the time their only way of getting around is on foot, walking long distances to access basic services. With no routine or place to call home, a lot of our clients spend their days walking, just waiting for the day to be over so they can bed down. I am working with one client at the moment who is rough sleeping. He wakes up in one place and has to walk somewhere else to use the bathroom, another few kilometres to take a shower, another few again to get some food. It's exhausting for him."
In Dublin, there are currently 6,995 people in emergency accommodation and 91 people sleeping rough according to the latest figures from the Department of Housing and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive.
For the last 12 months, numbers in emergency accommodation have been rising and have now returned to pre-pandemic levels. With the chronic lack of social and affordable housing ongoing, people are now spending far longer stuck in emergency accommodation, without any indication or hope of when these long and painful days might end. In Q4 of 2021, for every three single people entering emergency accommodation, only one exited to housing.
Roisin Coulter, Community Fundraising Manager at Dublin Simon Community says that by taking part in the Longest Day campaign, the public can help to make home a reality for people experiencing the isolation and uncertainty of homelessness.
“The idea behind it is simple – for most of us, the longer, brighter evenings are a chance to get more out of our day. But if your day already feels long and you have nowhere to go, nothing to do, no place to call home, those extra hours of daylight are just more time to fill before going to sleep. And what are you going to do with those hours if you have no means, no belongings, no routine?
“With this year’s step challenge, we’re literally asking people to put themselves in the shoes of someone experiencing homelessness right now. As June 21st is the longest day we thought 21,000 steps was an achievable target – though some people might be surprised at just how much time it takes. We are urging as many people as possible to sign up and fundraise – people’s lives are depending on it.”
To take part in Dublin Simon Community’s Longest Day Steps Challenge, visit www.dubsimon.ie. There, you will be redirected to an iDonate fundraising page where you can enter your details and begin your fundraising. All funds raised will go directly towards people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Dublin and the surrounding counties.