Facelifted Homeless Hostel Opened by DSD Minister


(story courtesy ofLoveBelfast.co.uk)Maurice Flynn & Sons has completed a £950,000 facelift of one of Belfast’s oldest hostels for homeless men that will help transform living conditions for its59residents.The refurbishment programme–funded by Habinteg Housing Association–is the first major re-fit since the current building opened more than 30 years ago.

The hostel, initially funded by the Department for Social Development has further benefitted from additional services made possible through DSD’s Supporting People Programme funding, administered by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

The hostel, at Utility Street off the Donegall Road is run by the Northern Ireland Institute for the Disabled (NIID) which also runs the Stricklands Care Village and Stewart Memorial House in Bangor, both of which cater for people with disabilities. Amongst the improvements undertaken at Utility Street is a partial new roof, new lift, new boiler equipment and heating system, new bathrooms and wash rooms, new laundry room and equipment, new flooring, new locks, new windows, new staff room, new office space with enhanced IT facilities, new kitchen and food storage area, new electrics, new plumbing, new ventilation system, repainting throughout, new foyer and reception area, new blinds, new bedding, and refurbished bedrooms. New lighting has also been added as has a new fire alarm system, two new tea rooms and a new communications room. According to Men’s Hostel manager, Edmund McCullough the change to the much needed facility has been transformational. “Words cannot describe the physical transformation that has taken place in the hostel. We have fully modernised the entire building and this has impacted positively on the people who both live and work here. “The single biggest change has been the introduction of catering services for the men. The men take pride in their hostel. This is their home for only a short while. We aim to make sure they are happy and contented while they reside here and it is therefore imperative we have the highest of standards. The refurbishment programme has ensured that we continue to provide good quality support to those vulnerable people who need and deserve our help. ”The hostel–which was initially established in the1890s–can cater for 59 residents–employs a team of six support workers, three full time catering staff and two cleaners. A number of new posts across a range of disciplines are anticipated over the next year. Men’s Hostel resident John’s story is reflective in many ways of how people’s lives can change almost overnight.