Permanent Supportive Housing

Supportive housing assists people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, with the goal of promoting long-term health and wellbeing for both the residents and the overall community. Supportive housing is suitable for individuals with varying health and personal challenges and needs. People have had reasons for becoming homelessness, supportive housing tailors its response to clients, to help them maintain their housing. Non-profit housing operators provide on-site, non-clinical supports, such as life-skills training, and connections to primary health care, mental health or substance use services.

The Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy, adopted by Council on SEPT-17-2019, set a target for Nanaimo to develop 200-240 new supportive housing units by 2028, in addition to 600 new affordable rental units and 120 new rent supplements. The 2018 Point-in-Time Homelessness Count found there are 335 absolute homeless individuals in Nanaimo. The City is currently actively working with our partners to meet the targets set by the Affordable Housing Strategy.

A Response to Homelessness (2008)

In 2008, the City of Nanaimo prepared a five-year action plan that was based on a housing first and harm-reduction philosophy. The goals of the Plan were to:

  1. Strive to eliminate chronic homelessness.
  2. Improve stability and independence of the population at-risk.

The plan then outlined five strategies that would establish a framework of action for the City and partner agencies in the coming years. The strategies reflected the city’s shortage of supportive housing and low

barrier services at the time with actions that support improved access to housing and services. It also sought to address the need for a comprehensive response with higher levels of integration and coordination between agencies, with the goal of improving accessibility of services and enhancing linkages and referrals.

Memorandum of Understanding

Also in 2008, the City of Nanaimo entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Province of British Columbia to facilitate the provision of 160 units of supportive housing. The agreement involved expedited approvals and the use of City-owned sites for a number of these developments. In total, 128 of these units were constructed:

  • 437 Wesley Street — 36 studio apartments operated by Canadian Mental Health Association.
  • 6025 Uplands Drive — 33 studio apartments run by Pacifica Housing Society.
  • 1597 Boundary Crescent — 41 studio apartments operated by Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society, Vancouver Island Mental Health Society and Haven Society.
  • 477 Tenth Street — 18 units for Indigenous youth and elders managed by Tillicum Lelum Aboriginal Friendship Centre.

All of these projects have minimal barriers and provide housing and support services to individuals who have experienced homelessness or those who are at-risk of homelessness.


6025 Uplands Drive



1597 Boundary Crescent



477 Tenth Street



437 Wesley Street

Last updated: October 18, 2019

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