Jason, Emergency Shelter Team Leader

“As Team Leader I am responsible for co-ordinating and overseeing our various emergency support services for people who are homeless, many of which operate around the clock every day of the year.

Our services include our Emergency Shelter (44+ beds), our Day Centre, Outreach Team for rough sleepers, our Youth Homeless Drugs Prevention Programme and our Soup Run. I am also responsible for leading and supporting our experienced and skilled team of care staff and volunteers who work to provide these services.

Over the past year I have found it even harder to tell people who come looking for a bed that we don’t have one because they are all occupied. At a time when people are facing really difficult times and in need of our services more than ever, it’s so much harder having to turn people away. And simply knowing that as a society and State that we have failed to provide appropriate housing options for those who are vulnerable and becoming even more marginalised. I hope someday this will change.

I am very happy that I’m working for an organisation that seeks social justice for people who are homeless and marginalised. Despite all the challenges we have faced economically as an organisation, my co-workers still come to work with high spirits. This is also true for those in great need who seek our support and services: despite all the challenges they have faced in their own lives, I have seen how remarkable and resilient their human spirit is and continues to be. They are a great source of inspiration and motivation for me to continue my work.

I started off in the accountancy/ financial management sector. After a number of years I decided I wanted to do something more meaningful for me, and so when a full-time volunteering opportunity arose in 2001 in a homelessness organisation in Dublin I was more than happy to take it. I spent a year volunteering in their Day Centre for young, mostly opiate-dependant people who are homeless.

Since I started working in Cork Simon in 2002 I have pursued a number of professional qualifications including a UCC Diploma in Youth & Community Work, a Higher Certificate in Counselling from CIT, a Certificate in drugs counselling, intervention and theory, and I am certified instructor with the Crisis Prevention Institute. I recently completed a certificate in Learning and Quality Assurance with DIT, College of Business. These qualifications help me and my team to deal effectively with the many different challenges we are presented with every day.”