The Simon Community is a registered charity in Britain and Ireland which aims to provide support to homeless people. It was founded in 1963 by Anton Wallach-Clifford. The name comes from Simon of Cyrene, the idea being that of carrying people's crosses for them, at least for a while.

Simon is a community in the real sense of the word. Its activities allow the people who work for it to form a real bond with those on the street, and as a result it tends to get a high degree of respect amongst those people. Although its founder was a practicing Catholic, and the name has religious overtones, such matters are rarely if ever mentioned in practice.

Simon operates by working directly with people on the streets. Short term accomodation is provided for those that badly need it, and residential houses exist where full time 'workers' (actually volunteers who receive little more than pocket money) cohabit with ex-homeless. In some cases those homeless people are able to recover from the underlying causes of their condition enough to go back into employment and a more or less conventional life. Others may never make that step, but receive long term care anyhow.

Sources:

Simon Community website

VT Coughtrey

Personal experience (the Simon tea run)

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