Almost 100 people turned out to see the grand opening of McGarry House homeless shelter, Alphonsus Street, which was officially opened by Minister of State for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan.
The newly renovated McGarry House, previously known as Bridgeland House, began operating in 2009 and now provides accommodation for up to 70 people and is estimated to have cost almost 13 million between procuring the building and a complete refurbishment.
Work began on the site in August 2011 when over 30 new accommodation units were added to the facility. The recently refurbished building can now house up to 34 homeless people for short term accommodation and provide long term accommodation to 30 former homeless people.
Ms O’Sullivan said that the opening of McGarry House was a “tremendous achievement” for the people of Limerick.
“I’m delighted to officially open McGarry House. This is a top class facility which not only provides accommodation but a range of different services. I remember visiting the site when it was being built and meeting with some of the residents and I can’t describe the enthusiasm of everyone involved in the project,” said Ms O’Sullivan.
The project is operated by Novas Initiatives which is a charity aimed at helping those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and was funded by the HSE, Limerick City Council and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The Minister of State also applauded all those who volunteer and work with Novas for their dedication adding that it was their “commitment that made initiatives like McGarry House possible.”
Mayor of Limerick Cllr Gerry McLoughlin congratulated all involved in the project adding that it was extremely important that these facilities are open to anyone who needs assistance.
“There is wonderful work going on here and everyone involved should be extremely proud of what they have achieved,” he added.
Deputy manager at McGarry House Sinead Carey said that the aim of Novas and McGarry House is to provide more than just food and accommodation.
“We have a number of resources available and offer many services ranging from counselling, a mental health clinic or drug addiction services. The clients will always have their own say with what they want to achieve and when they want to achieve it and we currently have two members of staff working here who were originally clients in Bridgeland House which is fantastic,” she said.
“We try to equip everyone here to gain the skills to live independently. The way we look at it is that they will have a roof over their head, food on the table and someone there to listen to them,” explained Ms Carey.
A Community Detox service which is available to anyone living in the Mid West area also operates out of McGarry House providing support to those wishing to engage in the first step of drug-free living.