5 Questions with Steve MacIntosh, Senior Assistant Manager
Steve MacIntosh was the signatory on our January fundraising appeal letter “Help bring them in from the cold” which was delivered to our community on January 30, 2017. Steve played an integral part in the creation this a compelling fundraising appeal letter by sharing his wealth of information on the history of our organization, stories of clients he’s had the opportunity to get to know, and telling us about the staff he enjoys working with so much. To read our January appeal letter, please click here
- What made you want to join the Shepherds’ team?
I had just returned to Ottawa. One night, I woke up suddenly from a dream and in that dream I was working at a shelter, giving back to the community. Shortly after that, I started volunteering at Shepherds in the soup kitchen. It wasn’t until a little later, when I was reading the newspaper (this was before the days of job searching on the internet), that I saw an advertisement for a front-line position at Shepherds. I applied and well… the rest is history!
- What does your role involve?
As Senior Assistant Manager, I act as the central hub for all the programs run at Shepherds of Good Hope. I deal with a little bit of everything from everywhere – from the shelter building and soup kitchen to one of our six satellite locations. My role varies from day to day and minute to minute. Sometimes I can be resolving an issue with a client, dealing with an emergency scheduling issue, supporting the staff with their needs or solving a problem in one of our eight locations. It’s always something different every day.
- What are some of the best parts of your job?
The thing I like most about my job is… there are so many things, it’s hard to pick just one! I’d probably say that it’s the insight into humanity that working at a homeless shelter provides. We deal with so much emotion every single day working here. These experiences and the insight you gain from them really helps you as a person, in an overall sense. I also really like interacting and supporting the staff I work with. And of course, the clients. They’re the heart and soul of why we’re here. They’re so genuine. And of course, the infamous SGH Chili Cook-Off!
- What is something you would like to share with people about homelessness?
I think the biggest frustration for me is the misconception that most homeless people are homeless because they’re “lazy” and they “choose” to be homeless. That’s just not true. I personally believe that nobody really wants to be homeless. People are here for a variety of reasons, including those suffering from addictions and/or mental health issues. Mental health is such a big component to homelessness and people need to recognize that. It’s not a choice for a lot of people here, it’s more of a way to survive.
- What kind of things do you like to do outside of work, in your free time?
Self-care is so important. In order for us to do what we do at Shepherds of Good Hope and to give 100% at work, you need to make sure you take some time for yourself. The way that I release if by going to the gym. I go about 5 times a week. It’s like a form of meditation for me, clears your mind and keeps you physically fit.