Aug 2021 | Action Housing
REIMAGINE NANAIMO is the City’s process to recreate their overarching plan for the future of Nanaimo. Earlier this year, the City engaged with local residents to collect insights on social equity issues and possible solutions to improve the quality of life for Nanaimo’s most vulnerable residents. In this blog post, we share common concerns and solutions provided by the public through Phase 1 of REIMAGINE.
What was heard
Residents showed concern about homelessness, social challenges such as public drug use and crime, affordability of housing and daily needs, as well as there not being enough housing to accommodate all incomes.
Survey respondents also highlighted a concern for public safety and the negative impact of unhoused people on the downtown and nearby neighbourhoods. When residents were asked to suggest solutions to improve these social equity issues in Nanaimo, here is what they said:
Nanaimo residents believe that additional support is needed to help those struggling to find housing. Many survey respondents stated that shelter is a basic human right and that housing is often a multi-faceted challenge that is closely tied to many other issues.
Ideas from Nanaimo residents included alternative housing such as tiny houses, carriage homes and co-housing. Some suggested fast-tracking permits for new affordable housing and adding requirements for a certain percentage of affordable units in all multi-family developments. Other ideas included rent control and financial support for renters.
Survey participants commonly listed that supporting those living with addiction is one of the top issues in Nanaimo. They also noted that partnerships on all levels of government are required to address this challenge. There were many comments in support of decriminalizing drug use and providing safe, supportive places for rehabilitation, rather than punishment.
Nanaimo community members suggested that easy access counselling and outreach meetings should be public or in-person and that new rehabilitation facilities should be made available to put less strain on hospitals.
Residents of Nanaimo felt that support should focus on the most vulnerable, including people struggling with mental health concerns. Ideas included increased access to counselling, clinical and spiritual support and support centers that are easily accessible and well-distributed geographically throughout the city.
Next Phase of REIMAGINE
Phase 2 of REIMAGINE NANAIMO is currently underway and the City is further exploring the ideas listed above.
If you’d like to participate in the engagement process, click here to get involved.
If you would like to further explore the Phase 1 Findings, click here.