50 years of age this year - as we are, Andrew Quinn has shared in Cork Simon’s journey since he first stayed at our John Street shelter in 1987.

“I was born April 1971, in Germany.
We left Germany when I was four, then lived in London during the riots and the human rights marches.
I haven’t had a happy life. When I came to Cork, I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. Cork was quite poor at the time, but the people were strong and kind. Everyone was welcoming.
Stayed in John Street – the old Simon dormitory. I was the end of 16, I think.
For a year I was in an agricultural college doing tree surgery; got a distinction. I started my business, with landscaping, but I found it very hard with just one person. And then the block laying dried up and I came back into Cork and I've been in Simon since then.
It's just like having an extended family you know, everybody looks out for each other, pretty much. There's compassion with people who've been on the streets because they understand what it’s like to not have anything and to be alone, abandoned.
It's got a soul, you know. Simons has a soul, because the people that work here obviously do care about people. All they ask of us is to respect that and you know, that's no problem.
I could have been very institutionalised, but I'm not, because of Cork Simon and some of the people here. If it wasn’t for the Simons, I'd say I would be dead now.
What science calls gravity and all that sort of stuff, a spiritualist would say, no, it's love, it's bonding.”

Andrew recalls staying in John Street when he first came to Cork in 1987 ...