Limerick Voice Reporter, Oisin White, speaks to head of advocacy and communications for Novas, Una Burns, about their recent win at the Limerick Chamber’s Regional Business Awards.
Novas is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people who are homeless or at risk of homeless or people who are marginalised or people that struggle with an addiction. Novas are also an approved housing body, which means they provide long term social housing units for people who are on the social housing waiting list.
The company will work alongside the local authorities. Their aim is to move people off the social housing waiting list and into their own housing unit.
Novas recently won the best not-for-profit award at the Limerick Chamber Regional Business Awards.
“We were absolutely thrilled with the award and the recognition the award bestowed on the work we do here,” Una Burns, head of advocacy and communications for Novas, said. “The award is a demonstration of the range of services we provide here. A recognition of how challenging the work is and how challenging it is for the clients that we support who are homeless or at the risk of homelessness and are constantly under stress and pressure of finding somewhere to live. For us the award is a recognition of a front-line staff and our clients. We were delighted and grateful to receive the award.”
Novas started up in 2002. The company’s beginnings lay with Limerick City and County Council and the Health Service Executive’s Social Inclusion Initiative, who were looking for homeless accommodation.
There was a gap in services at the time, with a lot of people on the street.
When the County Council was looking for solutions, they came across an idea from the United Kingdom. Joe McGarry, who was the head of Arlington House at the time, came over and conduct an investigation and see what type of homeless services were needed. From there, Novas’ first services began.
Those origins are really important for supporting people who are in addiction, meeting people were they’re at, and trying to erase any barriers for entry.
There are lots of ways people can get involved and support Novas, particularly at this time of year. On Friday, December 8, Novas will hold their annual Christmas sleep out outside Brown Thomas in the Limerick’s city centre.
If you’d like to get involved, you can find further information on the Novas website.
There are plenty of other ways to get involved if you can’t participate in the sleep out, such as Novas’ Christmas toy appeal and Christmas toiletries appeal, where the charity is looking for essential items.
“People can host Christmas jumper days, coffee mornings or events with friends and family or can make a donation directly online. Their involvement and their donations are an important part of our income,” Una stated.
The plan for Novas’ future is to respond to the homeless crisis as it presents itself and provide lasting solutions to try and end homelessness. The charity wants to provide more housing so they can provide long term exit pathways for people at risk.