What we do
Novas is a voluntary organisation and Approved Housing Body working with families and single adults who are disadvantaged and socially excluded; primarily those who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. We provide a range of services and accommodation for marginalised households throughout Ireland. We offer bespoke, client-centred services, based on empirical evidence of fifteen years’ experience of working with people who are homeless in Ireland. We believe everyone is entitled to a home.
In 2002, Novas established its first service in Ireland – a temporary supported, low-threshold accommodation service in Limerick. Since then we have grown significantly with more than 20 services in counties Limerick, Clare, Tipperary, Dublin, Cork and Kerry. We support our clients through Housing, Health and Recovery. We recognise the complex issues that cause homelessness and endeavour to offer holistic, long-term solutions.
Who we are
Novas opened its first service in Ireland in 2002 in response to the needs of homeless people in Limerick City. Since then, the organisation has grown considerably, with at least one new service being added each year. Our facilities are largely based in the Munster region, with two bespoke services in Dublin – the only dedicated female homeless service in the capital and a service for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum.
We are now one of the main providers of services to adults who are homeless in Ireland. We primarily operate low threshold facilities, implementing a harm reduction model.
We provide a range of services including temporary accommodation and long-term housing, Housing First, a service which offers intensive support to families at risk of becoming homeless, a designated Out-of-Hours service, a specialised residential disability service for young adults and a Street Outreach service. We also provide drug services including a Mid-West Community Detox Service and a Respite House for the families and loved ones of people in addiction. We recently opened a Winter Bed Initiative in Limerick in response to the spike of rough sleeping in the city.
We also provide long-term housing to families and single adults in the community. We have a range of long-term units and complexes in Dublin, Limerick and Kerry such as Haarlem Court in Dublin. Tenants are supported by our National Housing Co-ordinator who manages all of Novas’ tenancies.
Our Vision, Mission And Values
Vision Statement: To provide lasting solutions to homelessness.
Mission Statement: Novas promotes social inclusion through Housing, Health, Recovery.
Our Core Objectives Are:
- To provide homes to people who are homeless.
- To support homeless people to have better health outcomes through interventions in drug use, mental health and disabilities.
- To provide recovery pathways from homeless people with enduring mental health issues.
- To empower and promote the independence of those who use our services.
- To treat all out clients with dignity and respect.
- To provide client-centred services, rooted in evidence, quality and good practice.
- To advocate on behalf of people who are homeless, at risk of being homeless, entrenched in addiction or those experiencing social marginalisation through a strengths-based approach.
Novas’ Core Values Are:
Board of Directors
Greg Maxwell is the current Chairperson of Novas’ Board of Directors. He is retired from Novas’ senior management team in 2012. As head of personnel with the organisation, he contributed at a crucial stage of its development in many key areas including; proposals for new services, human resources, quality assurance, strategic planning, operational policies, governance and health & safety. Before this, he was CEO of the Dublin Simon Community for almost 10 years and led substantial development there and actively campaigned on behalf of people who were homeless. With Peter McVerry, he co-founded the Dublin Homeless Network, the umbrella grouping of all voluntary agencies in the greater city area, and was their main spokesperson and negotiator with government; including new state funding arrangements for the voluntary sector. He was also a former member of the Board of the Homeless Agency and The Wheel. Earlier he was a trade union official for over 20 years; of which 17 years was as General Secretary.
Dermot Sadlier is a trained carpenter and worked at senior level in the UK construction industry, of which he has more than 35 years’ experience. He has a deep interest in homelessness, with particular knowledge of the impact of homelessness among the Irish community in London and of UK homeless agencies. He currently chairs the Board of Directors sub-committee on Health and Safety. Dermot joined the Board in 2008.
Kieran Walshe is a former senior manager with Trinity Bank, Merchant Bankers and previously worked with Bank of Ireland’s International Division. He is a successful entrepreneur with experience of building and managing international businesses of scale, primarily in the food service retail sector. Kieran brings a wealth of financial and business knowledge to the Board and currently chairs the Development sub-group. He ensures that Novas continues to grow in a transparent and efficient manner. Kieran became a member of the Novas Board in 2012.
Martina Murphy is a solicitor in her own firm in Limerick City. She worked with the Citizen’s Information Centre in the city since 2000 and also volunteers for the organisation. She has worked with Mediation Forum Ireland as a Commercial Mediator and her areas of expertise lie in family and children’s law, mental health and dispute resolution. She graduated from the University of Limerick in 1998 with a B.A. in Law and European Studies and thereafter completed her legal studies in the Law Society of Ireland. Martina joined the Board in 2013.
Patrick Quaid has been a resident with Novas for over a decade. He first resided in our supported temporary accommodation in Bridgeland House and then moved onto a transitional apartment. He is now a long-term resident in our McGarry House complex. Pat provides a voice for and represents the interests of the residents when decisions are being made at board level. Pat joined the Board in 2005.
Justin Brosnan is a retired Co-ordinator for Housing in Kerry County Council with 38 years’ experience in the housing and homeless sector. He has an intimate knowledge of the homeless landscape in County Kerry and throughout Munster. He has particular interest in the development and fundraising aspect of Novas. Justin joined the Board in 2013.
Maria O’Dwyer has a PhD in Early Childhood Development from the University of Limerick. She is a social researcher and the coordinator of the Start Right Programme for Paul Partnership in Limerick City. Prior to this Maria was a lecturer in Early Childhood Development in UL and Mary Immaculate College. She is committed to enhancing the well being of Novas’ clients. Maria is the Chairpersons of the Client subgroup of the Board and joined Novas’ Board in 2012.
Senior Management Team
The CEO, Michael Goulding brings 28 years’ experience in homeless services to Novas. He started his career as a volunteer in a London service and worked with a range of homeless services providers, addiction services and Approved Housing Bodies in London, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Since taking the position of Novas CEO in 2005, the organisation has grown considerably and now employs more than 200 people. Services have grown from two to more than 20 nationally and it also provides a range of long-tern housing options in Limerick, Kerry and Dublin.
The organisation now supports more than 2,500 marginalised adults, children and families throughout Ireland, something Michael is very proud of. Under his leadership, Novas strives to provide lasting solutions to homelessness.
Michael studied Philosophy and English at degree level and also spent one year in Taiwan learning Chinese. In his spare time he is the Chair of the Royal County Meath’s Beekeepers Association.
Anne Cronin, Head of Homeless Services, has 16 years’ experience in homeless services and has held a number of positions within the field, having worked for the Society of St. Vincent De Paul and the ISPCC prior to joining Novas in 2003. With a BA in European Studies and an MA in Peace and Reconciliation Studies, Anne has extensive experience and expertise in supporting and advocating on behalf of service users as well as managing and motivating staff. Within Novas, Anne has established the IFS, the DIAL Service (residential service for care leavers), the Community Detox, the Respite House and the Brother Russell Outreach Services and now oversees the operation of all Novas services. This also includes the supervision of all managers and the development of our training programme, ensuring compliance with quality standards and best practice in the field.
John Rogers, Head of Property, Design and Development, is a qualified architect and has 29 years practice experience in developing and planning social housing projects, 19 of which have been spent in developing services in the voluntary sector. He joined Novas’ Senior Management Team in 2012. Since then he oversaw the development of McGarry House and the design and redevelopment of Brother Russell House and continues to grow our housing stock pepper-potted in local communities throughout Ireland.
Eileen Whelan, Head of Personnel and Legal holds a BA (Legal Science and Economics) and a LLB from NUI, Galway. She was admitted to the roll of Solicitors in Ireland in 2004 and in the UK & Wales in 2010. She also holds a Certificate in Charity Law and Governance from the Law Society of Ireland. Before joining Novas in 2013 Eileen worked in private practice in roles representing the HSE, the National Employment Rights Agency and advising companies from SMEs to multi-nationals on employment matters. She was a member of the Criminal Legal Aid panel and appeared as defense solicitor in criminal courts up to the Central Criminal Court. She has extensive experience in linking with probation services, the court services and has a keen interest in restorative justice. She has lectured in Employment Law and Health and Safety Law with the National College of Ireland. Her main areas of expertise are employment law, governance and regulatory compliance.
Donal O’Carroll joined Novas in September 2007 as Head of Finance, and was also appointed to the position of Company Secretary in January 2011. He originally trained in public practice and subsequently held senior finance positions in a number of companies across a wide variety of sectors including manufacturing, pharmaceutical and IT. Donal is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). He has also served as a board member for a number of other charitable and voluntary organisations.
Una Burns, Head of Policy and Communications, has worked with Novas since 2013. With a BA in History and Politics, an MA in International Relations and a PhD in Irish Emigration History, she has extensive experience of research, presenting and communications.
She also has experience of working in the voluntary sector and worked as an Education Officer in Young Social Innovators prior to joining Novas as well as completing a range of volunteer roles. During her time as a PhD candidate she undertook a number of guest lecturing and tutoring roles in UCC.
Mark Vella, Head of Quality Safety and Compliance, has over 15 years experience in the social care field. He started his career in England working in residential mental health before he moved into homeless services with the Dublin Simon Community.
He began his career with Novas in December 2006 where he was tasked with setting up Mount Brown Women’s Service in January 2007. This was the only dedicated female homeless service in the city. In 2014 he managed the move and expansion of the service to the Abigail Centre in Finglas. Mark joined the Senior Management Team in May 2017.