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 more than 20 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 30 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 seven services in across the Dublin region. We are 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, Family Hubs, services which offers intensive support to families at risk of becoming homeless, a designated Out-of-Hours service, specialised Supported Living Services and a Street Outreach. 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 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, Tipperary and Kerry. Tenants are supported by our Tenant Engagement Manager who manages all of NOVAS’ tenancies.

Our Vision, Mission And Values

Vision Statement: Everyone has their own sustainable home.
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 for homeless people with enduring mental health issues.
  • To empower and promote the independence of those who use our services.
  • To treat all our 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:

  • Equality
  • Diversity
  • Dignity
  • Strengths-based
  • Rights-based

Board of Directors


Michael O Connell

Michael O Connell joined the Board in 2021 and became Chair in 2024.

Michael is a Chartered Accountant with over 25 years senior management and leadership experience in the public service and higher education.He retired from Limerick Institute of Technology as Vice President for Strategy and External Affairs in 2015. His experience includes leadership in financial planning and control, human resources, strategic planning and development and institutional mergers, restructuring and governance.

Since retiring, Michael has worked part time as a higher education consultant for a wide number of institutions in Ireland and since 2020 internationally. He is a member of the Higher Education Authorities’ Finance and Governance Board Sub Committee since 2017.

Michael serves or has served on a voluntary basis on the boards of several registered charities including Team Hope, the Irish Bible Institute, Shannon Dragons and Healing Streams Community Church. Michael joined NOVAS as a member of the Finance and Audit Board subcommittee in January 2020, becoming a Director in May 2021.

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Greg Maxwell

Greg was a senior manager with NOVAS (retired 2013) and before that, the Chief Executive Officer with Dublin Simon Community.

Greg co-founded the Dublin Homeless Network  and was the spokesperson with government for Dublin homeless agencies. He was previously a Board Member of the Homeless Agency and The Wheel. Earlier, he was a senior trade union official, Chair of ICTU Public Services Committee and member of the Executive Council. He is a civil and housing rights campaigner.

Greg joined the Board in 2016 and held the position of Chairperson from 2017 to 2023.

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Siobhan Wheeler

Siobhan Wheeler is a trustee and chairperson of The Free Dinner Trust and a Local Preacher with the Methodist Church in Ireland.

She graduated from University College Dublin in 1985 with a BA in French and History and from the University of Limerick in 1993 with a MA in European Integration. She taught French for several years. She is currently studying for a MA in Applied Theology through the Irish Bible Institute. Siobhan is especially focused on our clients and sits on the Client and Services and Governance sub-groups having joined the Board in 2018.

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Martina Murphy

Martina Murphy

Martina Murphy is a principal solicitor in her own law firm in Limerick city suburbs. She joined the NOVAS board in.

Martina Murphy is a graduate of the University of Limerick. She founded her own practice in 2007 and as well as being a solicitor, Martina is also an accredited mediator.

Martina has a particular interest in family law, mental health law and education law.

Martina sits on NOVAS Governance Sub-Committee.

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Pat Claffey


Pat Claffey brings unique lifetime expertise and experience of homeless services to the board.

He started as a volunteer with the Dublin Simon Community, later was elected to its board and served as its Chair. Thereafter, he worked in various roles within the Dublin Simon Community and became its Head of Services. He played a critical role in identifying new services and led the way in their introduction. He is committed to quality standards and client participation; he now chairs our Quality, Safety and Compliance Committee and is a member of the Clients and Services Committee. He joined NOVAS when we opened our first service in Dublin and until his retirement played a valued role in the successful development of this service.

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Dian Loposso


Dian Loposso joined the Board at the end of 2021.

She holds a Honours BSc degree in Food Science and Health and is currently working as a lab technician in a dairy company. She is also a Gospel artist, using her gift of music to touch the lives of those who encounter her.

Aside from being a scientist and a singer, Dian has a heart for her communities, both in Ireland and in her country of origin, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Having arrived in Ireland 14 years ago from DRC, Dian embraced and is well integrated into the Irish society and feels the need to give back to the land that granted her a second home.

She is an active member of her church community, carrying out various roles and has also volunteered in several events and organisations around the country.

She feels that working with NOVAS is another great opportunity to give back to the community and be an outstretched arm to those in need.

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Tracy Leonard - Board photo

Tracy Leonard


Tracy Leonard was appointed to the Board and Audit & Finance sub-committee in 2020.

She studied Bachelor of Business Studies in University of Limerick, achieved a Masters of Accounting from UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business and is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland. She joined KPMG in 2012, is a Director in the audit practice and provides audit and assurance services to a wide variety of both private and public clients.

Tracy has experience working with listed companies and private Irish family-owned businesses across the Retail, Hospitality, Agribusiness, Manufacturing and Education sectors. She also works with a number of not-for-profit organisations. In her spare time Tracy likes to travel, catch up with friends and enjoys baking.

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Senior Management Team


Una Deasy


Una Deasy leads our team as Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to NOVAS Una was part of the SVP’s Homeless Services Senior Management team supporting and developing residential and outreach services across the country. Una has a range of experience in private sector and not-for-profit organisations including Trócaire, Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, Amazon and Apple leading projects and people in a range of areas.

Una holds a Masters in Learning and Development, a Diploma in Management and Employee Relations and is completing Postgraduate studies in Innovation.

Una explains that, “for me, leading the organisation to meet the needs of those most vulnerable in our communities with a trauma informed, person centered approach is critical. We want to efficiently and creatively provide excellent care to our clients and tenants and build sustainable futures with them.

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Donal O’Carroll

Head of Finanace

Donal O’Carroll joined NOVAS in September 2007 as Head of Finance.

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.

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Una Burns

Head of Advocacy and Communications

Una Burns, Head of Advocacy 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.

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darren 2

Darren Crowe

Head of Operations

Darren Crowe, Head of Operations, has more than 15 years experience in the homeless sector.

Darren has worked in social care services nationally for more than 15 years, with particualr expereince in the areas of homelessness, including property management and other senior leadership roles.  Darren has managed services across the country including residential and community based services. He has a particular interest in change management and aims to ensure that everyone who is supported by us receives the best possible outcomes from the services they engage with.

Darren holds an MA in Social Care from the Institute of Technology, Tralee.

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Pamela Gunter

Head of Human Resources

Pamela Gunter, Head of Human Resources, has worked with NOVAS since 2009.

Pamela brings over 18 years’ experience in the Social Care Sector, having worked in management across mainstream children’s residential services, residential services for Separated Children Seeking Asylum and low threshold homeless services, before training as a Work and Organisational Psychologist and moving into Human Resources.

Pamela holds a BA (Hons) in Applied Social Care from Athlone Institute of Technology, a BSc (Hons) in Psychology from the Open University and a MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology from the University of Limerick.

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John Rogers

Head of Housing and Tenants

John Rogers, Head of Housing and Tenants, 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.

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Jackie Leonard

Head of Fundraising

Jackie holds a BA in Social Care and has been working in the homeless sector for her whole career.

She worked at Covenant House in Vancouver, the largest youth homeless organisation in North America, for eight years. Following this, she was the Head of Fundraising at Mid-West Simon Community.

She has extensive experience in individual giving, managing corporate partnerships, relationship building with major donors and creating legacies & bequest programmes.

Jackie is passionate about ending homelessness.

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Mark Vella,

Head of Quality, Safety and Compliance

Mark has more than 20 years’ experience in the social care field.

He started his career in England working in residential mental health services before moving into homeless services in 2003. He began his career with NOVAS in December 2006 where he was tasked with setting up the Mount Brown women’s service in January 2007 and further, oversaw the growth and expansion of the service in December 2014.

Mark holds a BA (Hons) in Humanities from Greenwich University, a BSc (Hons) in Quality & Safety in Health Care from RCSI.

Mark joined the Senior Management Team in May 2017.

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Corporate Governance

NOVAS is committed to maintaining the highest standard of corporate governance. We confirm that our organisation complies with The Governance Code for the Community, Voluntary and Charitable Sector in Ireland.

View our Compliance Statement here.

View our Financial Statement here.

View our Employee Code of Conduct here.

View our Board of Directors Code of Conduct here.

View our Child Protection Guidelines and Procedures here.

View our Child Safeguarding Statement here.

View our Donor Charter here.