A retired social worker in Bathurst is helping a homeless man get back on his feet and letting him live her  with until the system can get him into his own place.

Grace Goodine knows what Stephen Legacy is going through. She was down on her luck once, too.

Grace Goodine

Grace Goodine is letting a homeless man live with her until he can get his own place. (CBC)

"Up until I was 25, I had a very hard time," said Goodine. "And if some people didn't help me and give me the chances in life, I wouldn't even be here I don't think.

"I'd be in some institution or some jail, but I wouldn't be here."

Legacy has jumped from home to home, working odd jobs and dealing with health issues. Glaucoma has cost him his sight in one eye.

He lost his apartment last month and he can't afford a new place.

"I said, `Where am I gonna go?'," said Legacy. "I walked around with a pair of wet boots. The boots are right there, that I had on my feet for 19 days without taking them off."

Legacy stayed at a homeless shelter for a few days until a dispute forced him to leave.

Goodine spotted him at a coffee shop, in need of a shower and she offered him a place to stay.

Stephen Legacy

Stephen Legacy walked the streets of Bathurst for 19 days without taking his boots off. (CBC)

"I felt relieved," said Legacy. "Finally someone understands my problems. So I felt relieved."

Goodine's approach isn't recommended for everyone by an outreach worker at Bathurst's homeless shelter.

"Depending on who the person is, and … how comfortable the person is working with the homeless population," said Laura Aubie. "I wouldn't advise everybody to just open your door and take in strangers."

Goodine is trying to help Legacy get into a government-subsidized home.

"Every time he was supposed to have an apartment, it fell through, it fell through," said Legacy. "That's why today when we went to see about an apartment, I wanted to make sure it didn't fall through. 

This week, NB Housing has found him an apartment. Legacy plans to move in on Sunday.

"My hope for the future? To have my own place, and to have the things back that I had, and to start over."