Halifax developers offer free apartments for Syrian refugees
16 apartments have been secured so far, but developers would like to make 25 units available
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.
"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.