The Ministry of Housing has identified the City of Nanaimo as a priority community to participate in the Provincial programs Homeless Encampment Action Response Team (HEART); and Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH). Two sites have been selected in Nanaimo for the HEARTH units at 250 Terminal Avenue and 1300 Island Highway South.

Homeless Encampment Action Response Team (HEART)

The HEART program proposes to coordinate service provider teams to support encampment response. HEART members will collect and share information about local homelessness, address mental health, physical, cultural, and social support needs of people living outdoors and analyze system gaps and challenges with the goal of preventing homelessness and resolving encampments. BC Housing will lead the coordination of the HEART teams. These teams are to include municipal staff (e.g. bylaw or engineering), Indigenous service providers, First Nations, healthcare providers, and non-profit organizations. The intention of the program is to support community partners that are already doing significant and valuable outreach work on the ground and bring dedicated support for coordination to help increase impact and address local challenges. The HEART model is based on a successful pilot program that has been operating in the City of Victoria since May 2017. Victoria’s pilot program was instrumental in designing and implementing encampment resolution plans in that community. HEART teams will include new and existing local outreach and service providers. HEART team capacity to deliver services to people experiencing homelessness and in encampments will expand as new employees are hired and partners are integrated.

Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH)

Along with the coordinated support services provided through HEART teams, HEARTH is a funding program administered by BC Housing for the development and operation of new emergency housing and shelter options. The goal is that the HEARTH shelter and housing will begin operating by mid-2024. Permanent housing options may also fall within the scope of this program, however construction for permanent housing will take longer to complete. 

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