Five Questions With Paul

Mar 16, 2016 by



Once a month we want to give you the opportunity to meet the people who help care for Ottawa’s homeless population. After 33 years, we like to think we have an expertise in how to help those men and women who are most in need in our community. This feature, Five Questions With … is posted to Facebook and our website on the 15th of each month. Enjoy.

This month we have Five Questions With … Paul, a frontline worker in the transitional emergency shelter program (TESP).

Q. What made you want to join the Shepherds team?

A. It was somewhat accidental. I had been a grade school teacher for 12 years, left it due to family issues, drove a cab for 4 years and answered an ad at Manpower. I have been fortunate to meet my destiny, there was little planning on my part. It has been 16 years now and I still look forward to coming in every day.

Q. What is the best part of your job?

A. The best part is the clients. I have been doing essentially the same thing for my whole time at the Sheps, worked the same program, and have forged strong, trusting relationships with hundreds of people. In the end all I am required to do is be kind, and frankly I get a lot of love, that is my addiction. Second best is the staff. It is wonderful being surrounded by young, dynamic people in the process of discovering their life’s passion.

Q. What would you be doing if you were not at your current job?

A. I would travel, I would read, essentially devote time to myself. Caring for others is only part of life and needs balance.

Q. What’s the one thing you would like to tell people about homelessness?

A. A few things. People do not choose to be homeless, it is not because they are lazy. It is very much a circumstance of life that can affect anyone. It is most often a result of childhood trauma, mental health issues, physical, sexual, domestic abuse, which LEAD to addiction. There are causes. I have met many clients who led a regular life, and things fell apart. It could be you.

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working at Shepherds of Good Hope?

A. I play hockey, sit on the deck with a beer and watch my wife garden, listen to music. I am a news junky, and keep up with my children’s lives, 3 of the 5 in this area. And I have been involved with the union at the Shepherds my entire time here. I have a great respect for Sheps management but a counterbalance is always important.

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Five Questions With … Stephen Bartolo

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