We were delighted to see Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA perform the official unveiling of the new look Utility St Hostel after the £950,000 refurbishment programme at the scheme.
Initially established in the 1890s, Utility St situated off the Donegall Road is one of Belfast’s oldest hostels for homeless men. It is managed by our partner - 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 the scheme 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.
Our Planned Maintenance Manager, Scott Thompson, said: “The works that have been undertaken will ensure that the property will continue to provide a safe and welcoming environment to both the residents and our management partners staff on site”.
Manager of the hostel, Edmund McCullough is delighted with the work. “Words cannot describe the transformation that has taken place.” he said “We have fully modernised the entire building and this has impacted positively on the people who both live and work here.
NIID Chairman, David McIlhagger also paid tribute to the refurbishment. “We are very grateful to Habinteg Housing Association for undertaking this major investment that has significantly improved the accommodation standards here.”
At the official event to unveil the works, Minister Storey said:“The hostel at Utility Street is now a modern 21stcentury facility and I am pleased that my Department was able to contribute to the renovation project through its Supporting People funding. I would like to thank everybody involved for all their hard work in bringing the refurbishment of the hostel to fruition, including the landlord, Habinteg, the Northern Ireland Institute for the Disabled and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.”