Halifax developers offer free apartments for Syrian refugees

Halifax developers are aiming to lend the Nova Scotia government up to 25 apartments to help Syrian refugees settle into life in the province.

16 apartments have been secured so far, but developers would like to make 25 units available

Wadih Fares, president of Halifax-based WM Fares Fares, says donating the apartments was the right thing to do. (CBC)

Halifax developers are offering the Nova Scotia government up to 25 unfurnished apartments for a year to help Syrian refugees settle into life in the province.

"I feel that as developers and landlords it's a great thing for us to do," said Wadih Fares, president of Halifax-based WM Fares Fares.

The apartments will be for government-sponsored refugees. Fares said privately sponsored refugees are receiving help too, as some landlords and developers are offering discounts.

He said Halifax Citadel-Sable Island MLA Labi Kousoulis approached the developers with the idea. 

Space available

"Number one, we have the accommodation and there are vacancies out there. So why not?" Fares said. "And number two, it's nice to give back to the community. I believe by doing this, it goes long way."

Fares knows first-hand what it's like to be a newcomer. He arrived in Halifax 30 years ago, fleeing civil war in his native Lebanon. He said having people show you around and help you with the language goes a long way.

"You can't do enough because even with [help], it's going to be difficult and it's going to take time to get used to the new land, get used to new people, get used to the new culture," said Fares.

"The outpouring of support, love and compassion Nova Scotians showed toward this issue, the refugees, this speaks volumes about the humanitarian quality that we have here in Nova Scotia."

Fares said 16 units are confirmed so far.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.