Hello, I’m Greg Trainor, an Intervention Worker at The Marie Trust where I have worked since 2009. I am often the first person to give you a warm welcome at the door of our centre. The clients I meet can be new to homelessness or may have been homeless for extended periods in their lives.
Their support needs are what I try to identify as early as possible. I have worked in homelessness for over 30years, but every day is new and though some people are more familiar than others, people’s needs vary. Asking how people are doing, asking about their health and how they are coping are not routine questions – being vigilant to carefully listen to all aspects of a client’s response is, hopefully, how we begin to establish trust and how to help each person and their unique set of circumstances.
My first role is to offer time, to provide an opportunity for calm, for people to gather their thoughts and feel able to speak in confidence. I am part of a team and each of our roles intertwines with the other. The wellbeing of the people we encounter is our reason for existing; where each of us will step in to offer what is needed if someone needs immediate help.
Offering nutritious food and fresh clothing are good icebreakers particularly with people who may have fled violence, slept outside the previous night and are feeling very distressed - a situation which isn’t uncommon. Being close at hand to clients in our café is often how a conversation can begin. Even having a coffee or just wiping the tables, you are on hand to answer questions about housing, health or benefits. Having time to sit, catch your breath and pass the time of day, allows people the opportunity to tell their own story and what led them to our door.
Routinely, I will speak with homeless caseworkers to ensure accommodation worries are lifted from someone’s shoulders. We look at general welfare, health, counselling and education opportunities at The Marie Trust. Assistance with benefit applications and appeals ensures financial needs are supported.
I value the opportunity of doing outreach work beyond the centre, including visits to homeless hotels and visiting clients serving time in prison, liaising with social work, mental health teams and prison case workers.
Being accessible and affording time to clients is ongoing without limit. When someone feels reasonably independent and are back on their feet, we encourage the use of local resources and support where they can turn in times of crisis to avoid the scenario of their becoming homeless again.
Rea more about the crisis intervention service offered by the Marie Trust