Modular supportive housing, to be operated by Connective – formerly called the John Howard Society – is expected to open on Prideaux Street next June or July. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Modular supportive housing, to be operated by Connective – formerly called the John Howard Society – is expected to open on Prideaux Street next June or July. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo’s John Howard Society changes name to Connective

Society partnering with like-minded agencies across B.C.

Nanaimo’s John Howard Society has a new name that it thinks better represents the range of social services it provides in the community.

The Nanaimo Region John Howard Society announced earlier this month that it has joined with with another non-profit, Connective, and taken on that moniker also used by like-minded partners in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Kamloops and Northern B.C.

“Over the last year we spent a lot of time reflecting and assessing how [our] name reflects who we are,” said John Horn, executive director of Connective in Nanaimo. “Because we’ve got a lot more diversity in our programs and services, we felt we wanted our brand to recognize that diversity.”

John Howard was an 18th-century prison reformist and Horn said most people associate the John Howard Society with individuals who have been through the criminal justice system. The society does partner with the Nanaimo Correctional Centre’s Guthrie House therapeutic community and is also involved in restorative justice, but it also offers employment-related services, rent subsidies and a rent bank, a non-profit dental clinic, a substance-use recovery therapeutic community and housing.

“The cost of housing and the availability is a key factor for us and for our clients of course, so we’ve moved quite a bit into providing support for people who don’t have enough money to pay their rent,” Horn said.

Connective will be the operator of Nanaimo’s next modular supportive housing building for people experiencing homelessness, scheduled to open on Prideaux Street next June or July.

A housing complex is a “daunting project,” Horn said, and the Nanaimo society has been supported by its Connective partners in Vancouver that operate a number of those sorts of buildings.

“That’s partly what we looked at when we started to collaborate with Kamloops, Vancouver and ourselves, was what are our specialties and areas of expertise that we can share with each other…” he said. “We’ll be looking at who’s really good at doing what pieces and how can we learn from our colleagues and support each other. That’s part of coming together.”

Mark Miller, Connective’s chief executive officer, said in a press release that the partnership will expand a shared purpose of client service, reach and impact.

“As we expand our services across B.C. and the Yukon, our shared experiences, local and regional knowledge as well as our dedication to improving lives will impact all communities we serve,” he said.

Horn stressed that Connective in Nanaimo will retain its independent board of directors and legal entities and will remain a Nanaimo-based society, just with a new brand and personality.

“For those people that receive service from us, there won’t be any disruptions or changes to our programs and service,” he said. “We’re simply changing our name.”

READ ALSO: Treatment beds in Nanaimo providing ‘paths’ away from addiction, says minister



editor@nanaimobulletin.com

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