Thursday, August 21, 2008

Apartment complex to be built for people with addictions, mental illness

From - August 20th
A new affordable housing complex for people living with addictions and mental health issues is set for construction in Halifax.

The federal government announced $1.9-million on Wednesday for a 20-unit building on Maynard Street.

An additional $150,000 has been provided to partner with the Mi'kmaq Native Friendship Centre in Halifax to provide support to homeless people or those at risk of becoming homeless.

The announcement is part of the federal government's two-year Homelessness Partnering Strategy. The program, which was announced April 2007, is to provide $269.6 million to help communities combat homelessness.

Randy Cross, a recovering alcoholic, said affordable housing worked for him. Before moving into a subsidized apartment in Dartmouth seven years ago, he lived in a rooming house.

Cross found it impossible to ignore the drug dealers who sold outside of his building.

"Pure hell, pure hell," Cross told CBC News. "And the drugs being out there drove me to find another place."

Paul O'Hara, a social worker with the Metro Non-Profit Housing Association, said the apartment building will be staffed with support workers to help tenants get back on their feet.

"Self-esteem is the issue for anybody who's got addiction and poverty issues," O'Hara said.

"They don't feel very good about who they are and they get reminded by anyone who looks at them on the street," he said.

Construction of the housing complex will begin this fall.

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