The BC Temporary Rental Supplement (BC-TRS program) has now ended. For program information: BC-TRS

New partnership to provide hundreds of new homes for people in Nanaimo


July 13, 2020

NANAIMO – More than 300 new homes are being proposed for people in Nanaimo as a result of a new partnership between the Province and the City of Nanaimo.

These new homes will include new affordable rental homes for individuals, seniors and families, as well as new permanent, purpose-built supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness.
“We are working with our partners in Nanaimo to make sure people from all backgrounds, from people who are experiencing homelessness to young families, have homes they can afford,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This partnership will help us deliver a mix of homes for hundreds of people in the community.”

The agreement includes new developments proposed on six sites around the city:

  • three affordable rental housing developments with approximately 125 homes for people with incomes that range from very low up to an annual income of $74,000 for a one bedroom; and
  • four supportive housing developments with approximately 190 homes for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in the community.

“We’ve been working hard with BC Housing to move forward on developing housing options,” said Leonard Krog, mayor, City of Nanaimo. “I’m extremely pleased to see these efforts come to fruition, and I look forward to our ongoing partnership with the province.”

There is a clear need for more affordable and supportive housing in Nanaimo. The 2016 Canadian Rental Housing index confirmed there were more than 68,000 renters in Nanaimo and 23% of those considered themselves at risk of homelessness. In addition, the 2020 Point In Time Count for Nanaimo confirmed there were 425 people who were counted as experiencing homelessness in the city.

The planned new permanent supportive housing is intended to replace the temporary housing at Labieux Road and Terminal Avenue, as well as add new supportive housing at additional locations within the city.Community members will be invited to attend virtual neighbourhood meetings this summer, which will highlight interests heard from the community to date regarding housing solutions in Nanaimo and create a space to offer further input to shape the proposed developments. 
(Backgrounder 1 outlines details on the developments.)

Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head, and supports the commitment in the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quotes:

Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo
“The housing crisis hit Nanaimo hard, making it difficult for people to get ahead. These new affordable housing projects add to the hundreds our government is building in partnership with the city and community groups.”

Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan
“I would like to thank BC Housing and the City of Nanaimo for working hard to develop housing solutions that will make a significant difference for hundreds of people in need in the community. Our government is committed to continuing to tackle the housing crisis facing people in Nanaimo and across the province.”

Violet Hayes, executive director, Island Crisis Care Society
“Island Crisis Care Society has worked to provide shelter and care to those in need for over 30 years in the community of Nanaimo. The need has never been greater than it is now, and we are pleased that this partnership will allow those most vulnerable in our community to be supported in a real and impactful way.”

John McCormick, executive director, Nanaimo Region John Howard Society – 
“As one of the community agencies responding to the needs of precariously housed and homeless community members, the Nanaimo Region John Howard Society is keenly aware of the valuable role of BC Housing in addressing the significant challenges that Nanaimo is seeking to address. We look forward to continuing our longstanding partnership with BC Housing through its investment in housing that is both good for our community and that contributes to fostering a safe and supported community.”

Quick Facts:

  • Through provincial investments made since 2017, close to 850 homes are complete, under construction or in development for people with a range of incomes in Nanaimo.
  •  In September 2018, Nanaimo City Council endorsed the Nanaimo Coalition on Homelessness’ Action Plan to End Homelessness. The Action Plan is a five-year vision to help Nanaimo end homelessness, or where homelessness persists, diminish the harms it produces, by guiding and organizing homelessness services.
  • Nanaimo City Council also adopted an Affordable Housing Strategy in September 2018, establishing the city’s role and priorities to promote affordable, appropriate and accessible housing in Nanaimo over 10 years (2018-28).

Learn More:

Further information about the proposed new developments is available here:https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/nanaimo

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

Read more about the City of Nanaimo’s Affordable Housing Strategy: https://www.nanaimo.ca/your-government/projects/projects-detail/affordable-housing-strategy

Two backgrounders follow.

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
778 584-1255

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org

BACKGROUNDER

Proposed new housing developments in Nanaimo

The following developments are being proposed under the new agreement between the Province and the City of Nanaimo.

Affordable Rental Housing

564 5th Ave (Te'tuxwtun): Owned by BC Housing, this property is part of an existing partnership between BC Housing, the City of Nanaimo, the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools. Approximately 40 new homes are being proposed for this site.

1425 Cranberry Rd: Currently a vacant lot owned by the City of Nanaimo, this location is proposed for an affordable rental housing development with approximately 46 new homes.

250 Terminal Ave: Owned by BC Housing, the proposal for this property includes removing the temporary modular housing and using a portion of this site for the development of approximately 40 new affordable rental homes.

Supportive Housing

250 Terminal Ave: There is an intent to develop part of the site into new permanent, purpose-built, supportive housing with approximately 50 homes for people experiencing homelessness in the community. People currently living in the temporary housing at the site would be supported by BC Housing in moving to permanent housing in the community.

285 Prideaux St. (Community Services Building): Owned by the City of Nanaimo, this site is being proposed for approximately 50 new permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness. A portion of the building is being used as a temporary emergency response centre. The city will work with community organizations that lease space in the building to meet their needs elsewhere in the community.

355 Nicol St: Recently purchased by BC Housing, this property is being proposed for approximately 40 new permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness. Services provided to women through the existing Samaritan House at this location would be relocated to a secure area of 285 Prideaux St. (the Community Services Building), and later to the development at 702 Nicol St.

702 Nicol St: BC Housing is in the process of purchasing this vacant property with the intent of redeveloping the site to provide approximately 50 permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness and shelter spaces.

Contacts:
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
778 584-1255

City of Nanaimo
Media Relations
MediaRequests@nanaimo.ca

BC Housing
Media Relations
media@bchousing.org

Services, supports provided for supportive housing

All new supportive housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.

The Province is providing annual operating funding to help those with the highest housing needs to build new beginnings. Experienced staff provide support to tenants based on their assessed needs.

Services and supports provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, include:

  • both on-site supports and connection to additional specialized supports in their community;
  • supports that are tailored to the needs of the residents, including education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services, including mental health and addiction treatment programs;
  • individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs;
  • meals;
  • case planning and needs assessment;
  • other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally specific programs;
  • help accessing income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account;
  • support for residents to learn how to operate and maintain a home; and
  • no-cost laundry services, either on or off site.

Media Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 584-2433

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org