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International Women’s Day

Galway Simon Community raises awareness of Women in Homelessness for International Women’s Day


Women accounted for 43% of adults in Emergency Accommodation in the West at the end of January 2024.


Mary and her two daughters were homeless for a year and a half, which affected her mental health.

“The homeless situation gave me depression. I had panic attacks and anxiety, I couldn’t even go to the shop, I couldn’t go to the office, I was so afraid about everything. I didn’t think this would happen to someone who was strong like me.”

Mary eventually found accommodation in Galway but unfortunately encountered several difficulties with her landlord, which ultimately led her to moving out. It was then that she decided to contact Galway Simon.

She spent a month in hospital for her mental health whilst her daughters were in the care of Tusla. In the mean-time our Women and Family services were able to organise a home for Mary and her two daughters to live in. They are still living there to this day and she says they’re happier than ever before:

“I don’t have to have any more worries that we could be homeless again. My kids are so happy because they feel safe. In the past 3 years the service has showed me that I don’t have to feel afraid about any situation because I will never be alone.”

Mary feels that Galway Simon’s Women and Family service is extremely important and strongly encourages other women to reach out:

“It is really important, if I didn’t have the service, I don’t know about other people, but in my situation, I can even say it saved my life. Don’t be ashamed of getting help, that’s my first advice, try to trust people and try to get help.”


Following her husband’s death, Carmel was left without a home and ended up couch surfing. After being referred to Galway Simon she was placed in a shared women’s home where she lived for three years.

“I was there about three years, they’ve been very very good to me, only for the Simon’s I don’t think I would be around today. Yeah, it was them that brought me back, it was them that gave me my life back, plain and simple.”

More recently Galway Simon supported Carmel to move into her own apartment.

“The day I got my apartment, all I could do is cry because I didn’t see any way around it, but the day Simon took me in, they gave me back my life.”

“The home I have now is no one else’s, its mine, which going back seven years ago I didn’t have that, I didn’t have a door to close, I didn’t have a bed to sleep in, I was sleeping from couch to couch and now I have a lovely two-bedroom apartment.”

Carmel receives continued support from the staff within the Women and Family service who help her with everyday things.

“My key worker comes once a week to me, she’s like a daughter, she’d go over and above for you, like all the ones in the staff, they bring me to all my clinic appointments, all my physio, like everything, they do absolutely everything for me, they’re very, very good.”

 “It’s nice to know at the end of the day that there’s people out there to help you.”

 Carmel believes services such as this one, are extremely important.

“Without these services people wouldn’t survive. I know people that actually died in the streets because they didn’t have anywhere to go to, no one to put their hand out to, so these services are widely important to everybody.”

Carmel’s advice to women who find themselves going through a similar situation is “to get into contact with Simon, to reach out…they will help, they’re very, very good people”.


Bernie had been in and out of hostels for several years until she was given her own apartment on her 50th birthday. Bernie first reached out to a day centre, just over a year ago, looking for help. The day centre contacted the council who then contacted Galway Simon. Bernie was subsequently assigned a key worker who she says was a great help in finding her accommodation. 

“I went through an awful lot before I got this apartment, tough going. Not sleeping out now or anything like that on the ground, but I did it years back like.”

Bernie is very happy in her new home. She believes that but for the continued support of her key worker and the Women and Family service she wouldn’t be where she is today.

“She never let me down, she kept going on and on until she got me this apartment. She’s great like, they’re all great.”

Current situation of women’s homelessness

The Housing and Homelessness crisis is impacting on women with a record 180 women living in Emergency Accommodation across Galway, Mayo and Roscommon at the end of January, that’s a 19% increase in the last year. Homelessness is often associated with men and existing services primarily cater to the needs of homeless men. This leaves many women ‘trapped’ in an emergency response system that inadequately addresses their housing and support requirements. There are also women in ‘hidden homelessness’ situations, living temporarily with family, friends or couch surfing. This contributes to undercounting of the true number of women experiencing homelessness.

Our Women and Family Service

In 2019 Galway Simon set up a dedicated Women & Families Service to provide specialised supports to women and their families affected by homelessness. Galway Simon Community supported over 400 women in 2023. The charity works with women to prevent them from experiencing the trauma of homelessness, to help them to access secure affordable housing and to continue to live as part of their local community. The charity also provides a specialist service to exceptionally vulnerable and marginalised women where the focus is on having a safe home, supporting health and wellbeing recovery, and reconnecting with society using a trauma informed approach.

Get Help

To learn more about our Women and Family Service, click here.