Ryan O’Leary is a Senior Project Officer working on the Energy Savvy Families project. A keen camper and bushwalker, Ryan brings a background of caring for others to QCOSS.
Ryan is a qualified social worker and started his career in the disability sector before moving into a homelessness organisation providing support for people to access crisis, medium, and long-term housing.
“My most recent role was in mental health as a support coordinator and then team leader, where I was able to work at a strategic level within the organisation,” he says.
Ryan joined QCOSS in 2017 to manage the Sunny Savers program, supporting Department of Housing tenants to access rooftop solar in Cairns and Rockhampton. He says QCOSS adds great value to the community services across Queensland, combining voices on issues and policies – something which is vital to his current project.
“The Energy Savvy Families program works with local community organisations across the state to support low-income households with their energy consumption,” he says.
“Electricity is an essential service and increases in prices have put major pressures on low-income households. Local community organisations play a key role in supporting people to access support, understand their energy use, and link in with other social supports.”
Ryan says one of his proudest moments at QCOSS was bringing the Sunny Savers Tenancy Engagement Officers to Brisbane to meet with the QCOSS team.
“Their insights from being on the ground and stories of meeting with households was really powerful, and you could see the effect it had on QCOSS staff understanding the impact of the project,” he says.
“Far more inspiring than the data we had, or the reports I had been writing!”