Supportive housing development open

A new housing development with 36 apartments and on-site support services for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness was officially opened in Nanaimo Friday.

The building, located at 437 Wesley St., contains 30 studio apartments, three wheelchair-accessible apartments and three one-bedroom apartments with full access to integrated support services.

The four-storey building was built by Kinetic Construction to LEED Gold standards and includes a communal kitchen and a tenant garden.

The government of B.C. invested $6.04 million and is providing annual operational funding of more than $520,000.

The City of Nanaimo provided the land, valued at approximately $560,000, and waived $116,223 in development cost charges.

Canadian Mental Health Association’s mid Island branch manages and operates the new building.

The Wesley Street development is the second to open under a partnership between the government of B.C. and the city to help address homelessness.

Salish Lelum, at 479 Tenth St., officially opened in June 2011 with 18 apartments of supportive housing, eight of which are designated for elders and 10 are for aboriginal youth.

Supportive housing helps break the cycle of homelessness because it addresses the root causes of homelessness. People have a safe place to live, where they are connected to the services they need to stabilize and rebuild their lives. Supports can include mental health, addictions and medical services, income supports, as well as education, training and life-skills programs.

Since 2001, the B.C. government has invested $3.2 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 97,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.

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