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New centre to support Nanaimo people experiencing homelessness


September 15, 2020

NANAIMO - The Province, through BC Housing, is working with the City of Nanaimo to open British Columbia’s second navigation centre to provide accommodation and supports for people experiencing long-term homelessness.

“We know that our community is healthier and safer when our neighbours without homes can move inside and have access to the services they need,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo, on behalf of Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The wraparound supports provided at this centre, including 24/7 accommodation, individualized attention and case planning, will help people stabilize their lives. I am so proud of our government’s partnership with the City of Nanaimo to create the first navigation centre on Vancouver Island.”

BC Housing will issue a request for proposals to encourage experienced and eligible non-profit partners to apply for the role of operating the centre, which will provide additional levels of support not offered in many traditional shelters.

“After years of inaction on housing by the previous government, we are delivering homes for people of all incomes. That includes supportive housing and other homes for people with limited resources,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “This new navigation centre will play an important role in the housing system, helping to bring people in off the street and connecting them with permanent housing.”

The approximately 60-bed centre will be referral only and provide integrated clinical health supports, as well as culturally appropriate services of Indigenous peoples.

BC Housing and the City of Nanaimo are working with Island Health to determine the specific support services that will be available.

“Navigation centres provide the opportunity for individualized care that are adapted based on a person’s unique needs and circumstances,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “While we believe in an overall housing-first approach to homelessness and poverty, this centre will provide additional support that people may need with compassion and expertise.”

Residents referred to the navigation centre will be able to stay until longer-term housing is secured. This centre is the second of two announced as part of Budget 2020. The first location was announced in August and will be located in Vancouver: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0090-001460

“Having a navigation centre with the necessary wraparound services for people who require higher levels of supports than provided in traditional shelters, in particular, mental health and substance use supports, is much needed in Nanaimo,” said Leonard Krog, mayor, City of Nanaimo.

A location for the navigation centre is being identified. A non-profit partner is anticipated to be selected in fall 2020. The navigation centre is expected to be open and operating by spring 2021.

Quick Facts:

  • Through provincial investments made since 2017, nearly 850 homes are complete, under construction or in development for people with a range of incomes in Nanaimo.
  • Over 350 supportive homes are complete, under construction or in development for people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo, including 190 proposed homes as a result of a partnership between the Province and the City of Nanaimo:https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020MAH0079-001271

Learn More:

For information on how BC Housing is supporting British Columbians during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19