New supportive housing opening soon in Nanaimo

Oct 2021 | Announcements Housing

BC Housing is preparing to open new supportive housing at 702 Nicol street later this month. Supportive housing is subsidized housing that offers on-site support for residents that are struggling with, or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Each resident has a self-contained unit with a kitchenette and bathroom and has access to staff who are on-site 24/7 to provide support. Support offered ranges from enhancing basic life skills such as cooking and laundry to more complex opportunities like mental health, employment and substance-use services.

702 Nicol Street Project Overview

BC Housing owns the once vacant property on 702 Nicol Street which is now almost ready to open its doors as supportive housing. Inside the newly constructed building are 52 self-contained units that will provide long-term housing for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo. Island Crisis Care Society is the confirmed operator for this supportive housing building and will have staff on the premises 24/7 to offer support to residents.

The new building has one locked-off floor reserved for vulnerable women and includes studio homes, plus 14 ‘bridge to housing’ spaces where tenants will stay for short periods before moving to more permanent housing. The floor also has its own office and lounge space.

Orca Place – Supportive Housing

A similar project opened its doors in August 2019 to local residents in Parksville B.C. . Orca Place has been successfully integrated into the community and is well received by neighbours who initially had strong concerns.

Orca Place is funded by BC Housing’s Rapid Response to Homelessness and is operated by Island Crisis Care Society. On-site support is provided 24 hours a day. It offers 52 supportive housing units to individuals experiencing homelessness or to people at risk of homelessness.

In the 24 months since Orca Place opened, a BC Housing Research Centre report found that:

The implementation of Orca Place has demonstrated how supportive housing can decrease the number of people experiencing homelessness, increase housing stability and improve the quality of life for residents, as well as their overall health and wellbeing. View the full report below.

The supportive housing development opening at 702 Nicol street later this month is a similarly-sized 52-unit building and is expected to yield similar positive results for those experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Nanaimo.

If you’d like to learn more about supportive housing, including interior, supports and staffing, watch the below video on Q’waxsem Place. Q’waxsem Place is a 50 unit supportive housing building in Campbell River.

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