DEVELOPMENTS – ONE HOSTELS FOR HOMELESS VETERANS
There is a natural inclanation for organisations to stagnate or regress during and immediately after an emergency such as the COVID-19 Pandemic. ONE cannot allow this to happen. We will have challenges both personally and for our organisation, but supporting our veterans requires us to not only sustain ONE but to propel it forward in these demanding times. ONE has three hostels for homeless veterans and is developing two further hostels in Cobh and Cork City, leading to the provision of sixty single bedrooms nationwide. In addition to the new facilities, ONE House Managers continue to improve our current hostels and a flavour of recent developments is outlined below.
Brú na bhFiann
Our Dublin Hostel is located in Smithfield and has facilities for 35 veterans. This is ONE’s flagship hostel and a programme of continuous improvement is in place as follows:
- A full-time Veteran Support Officer (counsellor) was appointed in January 2020 with the support of the HSE. This has proven to be invaluable during the pandemic restrictions.
- The decoration of a day room for the veterans on the first floor, replacing the meeting room, commenced at the beginning of the year . However, it remains closed due to Government restrictions and HSE guidelines.
- The ground floor / reception area as well the basement floors have been re-decorated, providing a warm and homely environment.
- The next phase in the decoration schedule includes the remaining corridors and a number of rooms that have been vacated by veterans who have moved on to permanent accommodation. This phase has been delayed due to Level 5 Restrictions.
- The final project for 2020 is the installation of an sheltered area on the roof garden. This means that even in inclement weather, veterans will have access to an outside space.
Brú Chostúim (Custume House)
Our Westmeath Hostel is located in Athlone and has facilities for 7 veterans. It has had a number of much needed improvements in the recent past that include:
- A new roof replaced the original one that was over 100 years old indicated by the heavy slate, the absence of felt lining, and the minimal amount of attic insulation. The new spray foam attic insulation is 4 inches thick and the residents can already feel the positive impact it is having in their bedrooms. The external of walls of the house have been painted and all of those works have been completed to the highest standards. Solar Panels will be installed on or before the first week of December 2020. When these are fitted the BER assessment for Custume House will be at least “C2”. The significance of this rating is that the project now qualifies for a €3,000 Grant.
- The New Kitchen is in the process of being fitted. The finishing touches have been delayed due to Level 5 Restrictions but the work to date can be viewed in the pictures below.
- The extensive gardens are of great benefit to the veterans in the hostel and much of the upkeep is down to their dedication and interest. Maintenance on the large trees and hedge lined gardens is constant from early spring – well into late autumn/early winter and there is also a very large lawn and flower garden to be taken care off.
- The final project for 2020 is the replacement of beds and the fitting of the stair and landing carpet.
Brú Doire Feá (Beechwood House)
Our Donegal Hostel is located in Letterkenny and has facilities for 7 veterans. The refurbishment works included the following:
- The refurbishment of the 2 bathrooms, which involved a completely new main bathroom and an upgrade of the second and smaller bathroom, was the first These works were paid for in full by CAFNBO and ONE both acknowledges and thanks them for their support.
- The next project was a revamp of the kitchen which included the respraying of the kitchen units, the fitting of stainless steel throughout and a new state of the art cooker. These works were paid for by the 2 Brigade and Donegal County Council and we again acknowledge their outstanding support. New floor tiling was recently added.
- The fitting of a new solar system was completed which will reduce the electricity costs and provide hot water at all times. This has improved the BER rating and reduced the carbon footprint of the hostel.
- The final project was the painting of both the inside and outside the house.
Our hostels have always worked to the highest standard possible and it is those very standards that are enabling them to sustain the high quality of service that they continue to provide for our veterans during the pandemic. We owe all of our staff a deep debt of gratitude. The veterans who use our hostels deserve the best service that we can provide. This contributes to their comfort and morale, and also helps equip them to move on to permanent accommodation. ONE wishes to sincerely thanks all of those who help us in our work and you can support our hostels by donating at one-veterans.org