Homeless apartment

Wade White lives in an apartment building run by Metro Turning Point. (CBC)

The organizers behind an apartment building in Halifax aimed at helping homeless men get off the streets say their plan appears to be working.

Metro Turning Point’s apartment program has been up and running for more than a year. So far, a handful of men have landed jobs and moved into a place of their own.

Wade White says he spends his days watching a flat screen TV with no distractions.

It's much more relaxing than the shelter where he rested his head just a year ago.

"A lot of people living here are still, you know, slapping their face kind of waking up. It's quite a shock," he said.

White is one of 19 men at Metro Turning Point who signed up for a unit in the Cunard Street complex.

It's run by Shelter Nova Scotia, and each apartment is furnished. The tenants pay rent based on their income.

"It is unique in the fact that we have staff here most of the time and we do like to regulate the coming and going of people and that sort of thing," employee Gina Wilson said. 

"So I think maybe people were a little hesitant at first, but the need for the supportive piece is very important,” 

Clients say one of the biggest perks of moving into the building is having a safe, clean place to sleep. But making the transition from the shelter into an apartment of their own can be hard.

"You miss the atmosphere ironically, a lot of people, different walks of lives," White said.

White said when the applications were first handed out a year and a half ago, many guys didn't trust the system.

Now, he said, those same men are in awe of his living situation.

"A lot of them would like to appreciate a unit like we have here,” White said.

There's a waiting list, but Shelter Nova Scotia doesn't have the money to add more units.

Executive director Don Spicer said tenants can stay as long as it takes to get back on their feet.

"We have a life skills training program, healthy eating programs and linking them to the services they need, whether it be addictions services or mental health,” he said.

"Just trying to coordinate that a bit better so we can help rebuild their lives."