As part of our “Getting to know ..” series, our new Military Matters Manager, Ryan MacDonald, spoke to us to tell us about himself and his new role.

Can you tell me a bit about your role at HOS?

I’m really fortunate to manage our Military Matters project. This involves working with an incredible team of staff and volunteers to support our members of the Armed Forces community to find the right home in the right place. Within my role, I manage areas such as our Veterans Volunteering and Engagement within the Armed Forces community, but I still have a client caseload which allows me to work directly with clients to support them to find the housing solution that works best for them.

Can you talk me through the process of supporting clients?

No two clients are ever the same. However, after receiving the clients get help form, the process generally starts with us talking to the client to find out how they are, what barriers they are facing and how we can best support them to find a solution. This helps to set out expectations early and allows us to explore the options available to them. It can then involve anything from support with housing applications and house viewings, through to referrals to mortgage advisors and Armed Forces charities. It really does depend on what the client needs at any given time.

How do you personally benefit from working with HOS?

There aren’t many people that can get up in the morning looking forward to going to work, but also go to bed at night saying they made a real difference that day. We’re incredibly lucky to be able to do what we do for an amazing organisation that looks after both its clients and its staff.

How do you find the team at HOS?

We have the most supportive team you could hope for. Of course, it’s a team crammed full of knowledge and expertise, but it’s also filed with people who really care. Not just about the clients we support, but about each other too. There’s always someone available to pick you up after a difficult call, or to give advice with a difficult case. I couldn’t ask to work with a better group of board members, staff or volunteers!

Did you have any prior experience in housing before joining?

Yes, I would describe myself as a bit of a housing groupie. I’ve worked in the sector for more than 11 years now, carrying out various roles within a local housing association, a national housing and care provider, as well as an Armed forces housing advice charity. I also volunteer as a Change lead for the Homeless Network Scotland All in for Change team, which is really interesting and helps me to learn from our experts with lived experience. Even though I’ve worked in housing for a while now, I still feel like every day is a school day!

What kind of things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I’ve always been a very active person, but as a dad with four kids at home, my spare time is really limited. On the odd occasion when I do get some time to myself, I’m normally playing golf, handcycling or swimming. I try to make sure I get to the gym at least once per week too, which definitely seems to get harder the older I get!

What’s your favourite thing about working for HOS?

My favourite thing about working at HOS has to be the clients. I’m a people person who loves to talk, so being able to meet so many new people and play a small part in them finding the right home in the right place is something I’m really proud of.