COLONIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The first residents have moved into a wing of the Albany County Jail that was converted into apartments to shelter the homeless. It’s a part of a program called S.H.I.P.

S.H.I.P. stands for Sheriff’s Homeless Improvement Program. Not only does it house those who are homeless until they can get on their feet, but it also provides programs, with the help of community partners, to give residents the tools they need to regain their independence.

“We want people to get in there and we want them to thrive and we want them employed and we want them healthy,” said Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.

The apartments are sealed off from the rest of the of jail. It also has a seperate entrance.

Sheriff Apple has worked to open the ‘S.H.I.P.’ for about a year, making the wing look like a home for residents and not jail. It includes a kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and basketball court.

“They have their own privacy. They have their own lock. It helps people restore some dignity. Once you’re in there and you’re saving some money and realize you can do this, our goal is to get you out on your own again,” Apple said.

The housing is temporary.

There are fewer than a dozen resident living there, but there are 50 total rooms. Due to COVID-19 social distancing enforcement, the number of residents are being kept down.

“A place like this really allows someone to be an adult — become independent and thrive off the resources that are available,” said resident Brian Blaisdell.

After a hospitalization for mental health issues, he was discharged and became homeless before he became apart of the S.H.I.P. program.

“This means the world to me because there’s nothing more in the world that I would like to become [than] independent and to become comfortable in that situation,” Blaisdell said.

The S.H.I.P. opened less than two weeks ago.

Sheriff Apple said he plans on holding a formal open house when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.