The Salvation Army “hasn’t lost momentum” on replacing its decaying emergency housing shelter, new divisional commander Frank Pittman has vowed.
Major Pittman, who assumed his post a month ago, said he’d been taken aback by the decrepit state of the Salvation Army’s existing shelter in Hamilton.
The charity for the needy hopes later this week to announce the architectural firm that has been selected to design its new housing complex at The Glebe Road, Pembroke.
Conceding he’d been surprised by the level of social need prevalent in Bermuda, Major Pittman added: “Probably the most alarming thing was to see the condition of the emergency housing compound on North Street. “It’s a building that was meant to last ten years, and it’s been going for 30.”
The Salvation Army is already two months into its six-month Memorandum of Understanding with Government on renovating the disused Bishop Spencer building, abandoned years ago by the Department of Education.
The move came after a City of Hamilton task force condemned the existing shelter, which has been in use since 1982.
The charity has “already put out expressions of interest” to various firms asking for quotes on their services, Major Pittman said.
“We have an agreement with Government to explore the feasibility of that building to house the emergency shelter,” he added. “I had to hit the ground running because of the time that’s lapsed.”
On August 4, Major Pittman replaced former divisional commander Shawn Critch, after serving as the area commander for East Newfoundland, based in St John’s, Canada.
His wife, Major Rita Pittman, also directs the Salvation Army’s women’s ministries and community care ministries in Bermuda.
“We’ve been warmly received — we’re totally impressed with people’s hospitality and kindness,” Major Pittman said.
“Bermuda is a wonderful place from what we’ve seen thus far. If this is any indication of what our years will be like, we’re really looking forward to it.”