Our Board

With a strong board of directors and an experienced senior management team, we continue to influence policy and provide a comprehensive support service to the homelessness sector.

Simon Geddis (Vice Chair)

Simon graduated in food technology and business studies, he has over 25 years involvement in the agrifood sector and has extensive experience in food manufacturing and food safety systems. Simon is currently a Director at Avondale Foods Ltd and is involved in continuous improvement and project management.

Mal Byrne

Mal initially worked as an addictions Social Work practitioner from 1999 – 2005 in Extern’s Homeless Support Team. He has worked with Homeless Connect for over 20 years including delivering training sessions in the past and has always felt the advocate role of Homeless Connect is vital in supporting the sector. Currently, Mal holds the post of Assistant Director of Drug and Alcohol services in Extern. Mal is also a member of Belfast Drug and Alcohol Co-ordination Team.

Maria Jennings

Maria is an Environmental Health Practitioner and has worked for over thirty years in the NI public sector, much of it delivering food safety controls. Maria is a member of the FSA’s Executive Management Team with responsibility for Regulatory Compliance, she is the HR Director and runs the FSA’s Northern Ireland office.

Eddie Magowan (Treasurer)

Eddie is a Certified Accountant with significant senior financial management experience, most recently as Director of Finance & ICT with local housing association Radius Housing. He is a former Director with the Northern Ireland Hospice and member of the Executive Committee of the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action; he has a good understanding of the issues and challenges faced by social enterprises operating in the Third Sector.

Dermot Murphy

Dermot Murphy is Director of Services & Development in Depaul. Dermot has worked in the drugs and homeless sector since 2001. He has experience in working with a number of approaches from low threshold harm reduction through to stabilisation and recovery focused services. He holds an Advanced Diploma in Project Management, Diploma in Human Resource Management and also an MASoSc in Third Sector Management.


Sam Humphries

Sam Humphries is CEO at Harmoni, which includes Utility Street Hostel a supported 59 bed temporary facility for men experiencing homelessness. The charity also occupies a 5-acre site in Bangor where 33 individual modern apartments are located for a Supported Independent Living service. A mechanical production engineer by profession, Sam has a MSc in Executive Leadership.

Anna Lea Hettmannsperger

Anna works full-time as an Account Manager in the Software industry and is studying Psychology part-time at the Open University. She joined the Board of Shelter NI in 2019. Anna started working in the homelessness sector at the age of 16, working as a support/street worker in one of the biggest homelessness shelters in Berlin. She has experience working in the substance use field.

Cormac McArt

Cormac McArt is the director of the Westcourt Centre which is a charitable organisation with a focus on helping to reduce social exclusion through education.

Since 2008, Cormac has engaged with the homeless sector through various projects and initiatives aimed at supporting those impacted by homelessness. Cormac is also a board member of Edmund Rice International, a Non-Governmental Organisation based in Geneva and New York engaging in advocacy and human rights at the United Nations.

Brenda Parker

Brenda Parker is Advice Services Manager for Housing Rights, a voluntary sector organisation and the leading provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland. During her 16 years with Housing Rights, she has gained extensive experience of collaborative, innovative and partnership working with voluntary, statutory and private sector organisations as well as experts by experience. The purpose of which has been to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems for the people of Northern Ireland.


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