A Housing Executive homeless centre in Carrickfergus that has supported dozens of families has marked its 10th anniversary.
More than 600 adults and children who have found themselves homeless have passed through the New Haven centre in Irish Quarter South since its opening a decade ago.
A coffee morning and open day was recently held at the ‘hometel’ to mark the anniversary.
It was attended by staff, residents, local councillors Cheryl Johnston and Noel Jordan, and Alex Moore from Carrickfergus Foodbank at Jordan Victory Church.
Anne Glenn, Housing Executive local office manager for Carrickfergus, said: “We are very proud of New Haven Hometel, which is a family-focused centre. We also offer accommodation to people with disabilities, pregnant mothers, asylum seekers and people suffering domestic abuse.
“We provide a very high standard of temporary accommodation to families coping with the trauma of homelessness.
“Over the years we have found that people who come here usually don’t want to leave. Our facilities are top class, we have a seafront location and our staff, who have been with us since the centre opened, give outstanding support.”
Five babies have been born while living at the hostel, including Kaci-Mae Grady, who is now 10 years old.
Her mum, Lisa-Marie Grady, fondly remembers her time at New Haven. “I loved staying there; I felt really supported by staff and made a home here for four months with my newborn baby,” she said.
“If I had been allowed to bring my own bed and furniture in, I would have stayed longer!”
Housing Executive area manager, Mairead Myles Davey, said: “New Haven provides much needed temporary accommodation for those who find themselves in a crisis situation for whatever the reason. It provides very pleasant furnished units for families until we can arrange permanent housing.
“In total we have eight apartments; one is a four-bed and two are fully adapted to meet the needs of the disabled. The Hometel unit has three staff members who provide a support service to all the residents, including signposting them to other services in the area.
“Staff in New Haven make residents feel very welcome and without doubt go the extra mile.
“This is a facility and service we are all very proud of.”
During its 10 year history, residents at New Haven have included 276 adults and 364 children.
There have been five new born babies, while the oldest resident was aged 90.