In one week, 191 members of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) completed 1,366 one hour consultations with the public for a donation of €90, every cent of which went directly to the Simon Communities homeless charity in Ireland.
Since the RIAI Simon Open Door campaign began in 2004 over €720,000 has been raised by the Irish public and registered architects with architects giving their time and expertise for free.
Speaking at the conclusion of the 2017 programme, Carole Pollard, President of the RIAI, said: “The RIAI is delighted that the 2017 RIAI Simon Open Door campaign has raised €124,000 – the largest amount in the history of the campaign and the first time the initiative surpassed €100,000 raised in one week-long campaign. The campaign provides the public with the wonderful opportunity of sitting down with a registered architect and getting the best advice on building or renovating a home while helping a worthy cause.
“We are delighted to see the commitment from the RIAI registered architects in assisting the Simon Communities with their fight against homelessness.”
Speaking about the evolution of the Simon Open Door initiative and the role communications has played in its year-on-year growth, Ms Pollard added: “Since the inaugural initiative, the campaign has grown each year from a starting point of raising €18,000 in 2005 to the €124,000 milestone reached in 2017. The success of this campaign is dependent on architects who give so generously of their time so I, on behalf of the Institute, would like to express my gratitude to them for their ongoing support.
“As an annual event, it has captured the imagination of the general public who subscribe in such large numbers. The RIAI would like to thank its Members, Dermot Bannon, RIAI staff and the Reputations Agency for the fantastic work on this year’s campaign.”
Kathryn Meghen, CEO, RIAI, said: “The campaign makes a real difference – the €124,000 raised in 2017 will provide over 13,500 nights’ accommodation; 1,350 home starter packs or over 4,000 emergency packs for this on the streets. We are grateful to our PR partners The Reputations Agency who have worked on the campaign for 12 years and have delivered fantastic coverage each year, surpassing expectations and in 2017 helping us achieve these record results for such an important cause.”
Niamh Randall, national spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland, added: “RIAI Simon Open Door is a wonderful initiative which raises much needed funds for the Simon Communities and supports our work addressing the housing and homelessness crisis all around Ireland.
“Unfortunately, homelessness and housing insecurity continues to rise. There are currently 7,699 men, women and children in emergency accommodation across the country. A staggering 28% increase from last year’s figures.
“Since 2012, rental prices have increased by 50% and the number of properties available to rent has reduced by approximately 78%. As a result, rental properties are beyond the reach of many of those in receipt of state housing support – pushing people into homelessness and preventing people leaving homelessness. 91,000 households are on the social housing waiting list and social housing output is too slow to deal with the crisis.
“Partnering with such wonderful initiatives like the RIAI Simon Open Door can and does make a real difference. We would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported us in the past and we hope that the campaign continues to grow and grow supporting us in our vital work across the country.”