SHOW SPOTLIGHT: PROGRAM MANAGER BRIAN PAUL

Helping one person may not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Brian for the past 3 ½ years that he has been at SHOW, in fact we both started at SHOW the same week! As Program Manager, Brian is responsible for the oversight and delivery of programs and supports at our 362 Erb St. location. Brian is responsible for supervising staff, providing tenants with support, collaborating with other agencies within the sector and represents SHOW on various committees and working groups. He is also a member of the Cambridge Wellbeing Advisory Committee as well as chairing their homelessness and affordable housing sub-committee.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Brian last week and ask him some questions about his role at SHOW, affordable housing in the Region and what SHOW means to him as an agency.

1. Why is access to affordable housing important to you?

The need is just so great, and it isn’t getting better.  To truly make a dent in the crisis of homelessness, it will take a coordinated effort of all levels of government coming together with a plan, and community champions like SHOW to be at the table in addressing this ever increasing need and a range of affordable housing options for everyone. 

2. What do you think is the biggest challenge that Waterloo Region faces in regards to the lack of affordable and supportive housing in the Region? 

Money, and the lack thereof. New housing, new programs and shovels in the ground don’t happen unless there are funding streams and all levels of government working together.  There also has to be a commitment from government to preventing homelessness.  Not enough is being done to address prevention.

3. What do you think makes SHOW unique in the Waterloo Region?

We successfully house some of the Region’s highest acuity individuals, and have a proven track record of providing long term housing stability to individuals who have been street involved and/or vulnerable for many years until they moved here.  For many of our tenants, it was only when they moved to SHOW that they were finally able to create a semblance of stability and wellness in their lives.

4. Can you share a moment or story that highlights the impact of the work SHOW is doing in the community? 

I have come to understand the importance of the “little things” and how important they are to our tenants.  Since I started here at SHOW, I have come to understand the concept of isolation and loneliness and how it correlates to someone’s well-being.  We don’t take for granted how important it is to just have a tenant come down and say “good morning” to us, and then engage with them, even if it’s for a few minutes.  Not having someone to connect with, even on that level, has a profoundly negative effect on people, and we don’t take that lightly. 

5. What is your favorite part of your role at SHOW?

I love the team that I work with and enjoy my time with our tenants. It doesn’t feel like work.  This can be a challenging sector to work in, but I still get a great sense of joy working at SHOW. 

8. What is one thing you would like community members to know about SHOW? 

We would love the community to understand that homelessness does not define a person.  They experience homelessness – they are not homeless.  As a community we can help break down these stigmas.

9. Is there anything you would like to say or share with our community of volunteers and donors? 

There is a saying that I carry with me, and that is “helping one person may not change the world, but it could change that world for that one person”.  Your engagement and contributions have an enormous positive impact on the work we do here at SHOW.  Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to provide the programming necessary to allow our tenants a life of well-being and happiness.  It is essential and we can’t thank you enough! Working with Brian has already taught me so much, from my role as relief staff to full-time tenant coordinator to my current role, and I know that our staff and most especially our tenants are so lucky to work with someone who so passionately believes in the work that he does.