Chek News, March 18, 2022
Over 50 self-contained studio homes are set to open as part of a new supportive housing complex for people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo.
Samaritan Place, located at 702 Nichol Street, is a four-storey complex that will offer 51 self-contained studio homes, each with its own kitchenette and washroom.
At the new complex, one secured floor has been reserved for vulnerable women and includes studio homes plus 14 shelter spaces to provide a bridge to permanent housing.
There is also a two-bedroom family unit on the ground floor, which will serve as an emergency shelter space available to women and their children on a short-term basis.
These homes are the first of four supportive housing facilities that the Province and the City of Nanaimo have committed to creating for people experiencing homelessness.
“These homes will make a significant difference for people in Nanaimo who are experiencing homelessness by giving them a stable home with the supports they need to stabilize their lives,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan. “We are grateful to be working with the City of Nanaimo and Island Crisis Care Society to provide a place to call home for people in need.”
The building will be managed by Island Crisis Care Society, which will have staff on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
According to the provincial government, residents will have access to on-site support services including life-skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental health resources, as well as addiction-recovery services.
On-site at Samaritan Place, there will also be a community amenity space with its own entrance that can be used for events.
“These homes opening up at Samaritan Place show how strong partnerships can deliver for people in Nanaimo,” said Sheila Malcolmson, MLA for Nanaimo. “B.C.’s opened 490 affordable homes in the community since 2017, with hundreds more to open in the next few months and more to come.”
The government says that an “innovative” partnership with Island Health will see community health workers embedded at the site as well. These workers will have specialized mental health and substance-use training to support their work delivering a variety of healthcare services.
According to the Province, residents will start moving into the building on March 22. Priority has been given to people staying at the emergency response centre at 285 Prideaux St. and the temporary supportive housing site at 250 Terminal Ave.
The Province provided a grant of approximately $15.3 million for the project through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund and will provide approximately $1.6 million in annual operating funding.