The RIAI and Simon Community celebrate 20 years of the Open Door campaign with over €1.4 million raised to tackle homelessness

14 Mar , 2024  

The Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI), in collaboration with the Simon Communities of Ireland, is delighted to announce the launch of the RIAI Simon Open Door Campaign, now celebrating its 20th year. To date, the campaign has raised over €1.4 million to tackle homelessness in Ireland. This year, the campaign will run from the 8th – 15th April.

The initiative offers members of the public the rare opportunity to have an hour-long consultation with a RIAI registered Architect in exchange for a €120 donation that goes directly to the Simon Communities of Ireland. Donors can discuss everything from building, to renovating or retrofitting their homes with flexible consultations that can take place online or in person. 

All of the architects involved in the initiative offer their time and expertise completely free of charge as all proceeds go towards assisting those who are homeless or who are at risk of homelessness across Ireland.

Remarking on the campaign’s 20th year, RIAI CEO Kathryn Meghen said: “The RIAI Simon Open Door initiative remains one of the most important events in our calendar. The campaign’s success over the last 20 years has been in how it has given homeowners advice and inspiration in how they can achieve the best solutions for their homes. Registered Architects have had the opportunity to meet with members of their community and discuss the wide variety of solutions that can be brought to any project. But fundamental to the RIAI Simon Open Door is that the Architects and the public are giving time and money in aid of this really important cause. Reflecting on the last 20 years, I am proud to say that we have not just built physical spaces but have managed to transform lives. I look forward to seeing what the next 20 years will look like.”

Wayne Stanley, Executive Director, Simon Communities of Ireland, commented: “This April, The RIAI Simon Open Door campaign is back for its 20th year and with the worsening homeless crisis we need the support of the public now more than ever. At the end of February, we saw homeless figures hit a new all-time high, with 13,531 people including 4,027 children recorded as homeless. 

The RIAI Simon Open Door campaign provides vital funding to the Simon Communities across Ireland, helping them to continue to deliver care and support to people experiencing homelessness and lead the way for long-term change to end homelessness for good. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest thanks to the team at RIAI and Dermot Bannon for their incredible support and dedication over the past 19 years, we are extremely grateful for all of their efforts, and we are delighted to be part of this year’s 20th anniversary campaign.”

In 2023, funds raised by the initiative amounted to over €90,000. This enabled the local Simon Communities to provide essential services, supporting vulnerable people who were experiencing homelessness or who were at risk of homelessness. Some of these services include;

  • Homelessness prevention services.
  • Emergency accommodation.
  • Homeless specific health and well-being services e.g. counseling; addiction treatment and recovery; and mental health supports.
  • Drop-in centres.
  • Soup runs.

Registered Architect and RIAI Simon Open Door Ambassador, Dermot Bannon, MRIAI, said: “I love being an ambassador for this campaign. As an architect, it is our community event. You are meeting people, solving design problems, and raising money for an amazing homelessness charity. The Simon Community needs the money now more than ever. I think the initiative is fantastic as it often connects homeowners with architects who might never seek out design advice. Architects can offer innovative solutions for your home regardless of the scale of your home and answer any questions from retrofitting for energy efficiency to making your home function for contemporary living.”

To book your time slot with an architect please visit Registration opens on Thursday,14th March and closes once all available slots have been filled. 

On the website, you can also find out more information on this initiative, register your interest, or make a donation to the Simon Community.

Additionally, follow the hashtag #NominateForRIAISimon to see the latest architects taking part.