While the project was completed late and over budget, Public Works Minister Lt Col David Burch said the new accommodation at the Salvation Army Emergency Shelter “is still a cause for celebration”.

Updating MPs on the final costs of the project on North Street in Hamilton, that started in 2019 and completed in December 2022, he said the two new buildings “are suitable for housing 14 persons at a time in each facility, bringing the total available new beds to 28”.

“The total amount the Government actually committed for this initiative was $1,820,000.00 over the three-year period,” said Col Burch.

“Yes, over budget and this is attributed to the material rate increases of 50% – 150% in 2021-2022, and greater than 150% in early 2022.”

He also noted that “successive Governments have not always supported the work of the Army both financially and with repairs to this site”.

“I hope all can admit, this had to be changed.

“The first phase of refurbishment of this project was spearheaded by two local philanthropists – Mr Jim Butterfield and Mr Kirk Kitson – who through their effort and contribution to this worthy cause, made those works possible,” he added.

The Government engaged in a Public-Private Partnership with “the aforementioned philanthropists to rehabilitate and refurbish the Shelter buildings”.

“It was agreed that the Government would match the funding that was raised by them to upgrade the facility,” said the Minister.

In April 2020, a $1 million dollar grant was allocated for the upgrading of the Salvation Army shelter in the 2020/21 Budget. The total estimated price at that point in time was $1,912,000.00.

“The Salvation Army and BHC agreed on what the replacement buildings would be – the new container building design,” he added.

“Along with the two new builds as mentioned before, the overall initiative saw two residential buildings housing the men and women of the Shelter being remodelled. Whilst the central building housing the Administration staff, common areas, and the kitchen was repaired.”

Work slowed down for a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The specific breakdown of costs are as follows:

• Labour and engineering: $636,960.17

• Pile foundations: $551,580.75

• Local materials: $372,633.00; and

• Overseas materials + shipping: $258,826.08

“The myriad of challenges that were encountered over the course of the project that derived from COVID and global supply chain included – increase costs for paint, steel, lumber, plumbing, electrical, floor hardware, adhesives, etc.

“Delivery times were stretched beyond anticipation due to the high demand for materials. Additionally, local labour resources were already stretched as contractors were busy on various sites throughout the island,” said Col Burch.

“However, through all of this – our commitment remained steadfast in ensuring that our most vulnerable are protected by providing quality transitional housing and support programmes for our people.

“I am particularly delighted that we have been able to deliver on our commitment to the Salvation Army and those in need.”

In closing, the Minister thanked “all those involved in the construction of this project but particularly – BHC Project Manager – Mr Keino Furbert-Jacobs for all the work he has done on this project over the last three (3) years from researching the replacement buildings, securing planning approvals, organizing the bidding for the work, managing contractors, dealing with supply chain issues and all the other things that crop up during a project such as this.

“We have set the standard for the type of cooperation that should exist between the Salvation Army and the Government of Bermuda – which every government going forward should honour.”

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