Susan Carlson, vice-president of the Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy Association, executive director Deanna Ward and president Pam Pady are seeking a city grant and community donations with the association in a “desperate” financial situation. TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/News Bulletin

Advocacy association faces cash crisis

Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy Association seeks city grant and donations

A Nanaimo organization that has helped thousands of people hopes the community can return the favour.

The Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy Association is grappling with a “cash crisis” and “desperate” financial situation, according to executive director Deanna Ward, who says it has to raise $20,000 by mid-February or it will have to close the general advocacy program.

The association has been in Nanaimo for 43 years, offering general and legal advocacy to residents, helping people navigate bureaucracy and connect to local resources. Its general advocacy program is its most popular, sought after by 75 per cent of its clientele, the association reports.

It’s seeking dollars to keep the program going, including a one-time $10,000 grant from the City of Nanaimo and donations through a Go Fund Me page.

The page shows a bumpy transition period after the retirement of a longtime executive director and bookkeeper in 2015 was the start of the NCAA’s challenges. It took time to find replacements who “were a good fit, and opportunities to secure full funding for this year were missed,” it says.

Ward, hired in September, also said the association was overstaffed, and that donations are needed because the number of visits are increasing due to the rising intensity of problems, a result of a local housing issue and addiction.

“This is critically important work. This isn’t fluff stuff,” she said, later adding the issues are about people needing medical treatment, shelter and guaranteed income.

NCAA helps 2,200 people each year at no cost and has an average 11,000 visits.

Anyone can seek aid at the association, but the majority of clients are disabled. Advocates problem solve, can provide advice on tenancy issues and help people with disability and income assistance applications.

Ward recalls one couple, former heroin addicts, who were cut off income assistance because they either couldn’t or didn’t provide documentation when their file came up for review. They’d also been evicted and were living on the streets and didn’t have a steady supply of methadone. Ward said an advocate helped them sign up for a new program that supplied free treatment, get the documentation to reinstate their benefits and find a house. The couple is still clean, in steady housing and managed to buy a car, Ward said.

“We know that if we didn’t exist, if they couldn’t come here, they would be living on the streets still,” she said.

The advocacy association gets funding from the Law Foundation of B.C., Community Living B.C., United Way and gaming commission but dollars aren’t expected until April.

Ward said they need help and need people to stand up and come through for them, including the city.

Susan Carlson, vice-president of the association, said so much would be lost if they don’t get funding.

“How do you resolve these problems that nobody is there to help you with?” she asked.

The fundraising page is at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATED: Fatality at highway crash in Nanoose Bay Friday afternoon

Accident happened just before 4 p.m. near Hillview Road

School district changes mind, won’t cut community school coordinators

Budget initiatives proposed for next school year

City of Nanaimo’s proposed resolutions rejected at local government conference

City council had contingent at Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities convention

Lack of security: why Vancouver Island food production is on the decline

Big Read: agriculture a big, expensive commitment as advocates push to make us more food secure

Nanaimo region receives $700,000 in federal support for summer jobs

Funding for Nanaimo-Ladysmith up $74,000 from last year

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

Students celebrate new indigenous garden

Garden teaches students about traditional uses of local plants

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

RCMP discover beaver the culprit in break-and-enter attempt

Nanaimo RCMP responded to a 911 call on Sun Valley Drive on Wednesday night

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

Most Read