12/20/2011 09:59 EST | Updated 02/19/2012 05:12 EST

Homeless Construction Worker Wins Home For A Year


For months, construction worker Dan White would put in a long day at his full-time job, only to have no place to go home to.

Now, thanks to a contest, White has a place to stay, rent-free, for a year.

White moved to Calgary last summer but hasn’t been able to afford his own place. He had been sleeping in homeless shelters before a co-worker and a Calgary company helped get him a place of his own.

"I've never been as low as I was this year," said White, interviewed at the downtown construction site where he works.

Despite having a full-time job, the 42-year-old wasn’t able to afford a place of his own — “[a] complete change from everything I've known.”

White's co-worker Amanda Randall knew about his situation and wanted to help.

"He's a good worker, he just needs a hand up," she said.

Earlier this year, Randall entered White's name into a Boardwalk Rental Communities contest to award 12 months of housing to someone without a home.

"Hard working, honest, kind and really generous within himself — but without the wherewithal to put a roof over his head," said Boardwalk’s David McIlveen, explaining why White was chosen.

“When you hear about those kind of people you want to reach out and help.”

White’s new one bedroom apartment came with full cupboards and a fridge. It even has a Christmas tree — with presents underneath.

White loves his new place, but worries about others he says are more deserving.

Randall sees it differently.

"He came here looking for a better life, now he has the opportunity to do whatever he wants, to reach his goals and dreams."

For now, White said he's just getting used to his new place, his queen-size bed and sleeping without earplugs.