The lease for the temporary supportive housing site on Labieux Road is set to end next month, but B.C. Housing is in talks with the City of Nanaimo regarding an extension.
The city and the housing agency confirmed a two-year extension is being sought.
“B.C. Housing has been working diligently to build four permanent supportive housing sites but there have been some changes to project schedules. We understand the urgency of this work and are working as quickly as possible,” noted a statement provided by B.C. Housing. “We are requesting the extension so that we can continue to provide housing to residents while the other sites are being completed.”
Dale Lindsay, the city’s general manager of community development, noted that at the time the temporary supportive housing opened in 2018, a two-to-five-year time frame was anticipated.
“Based on the current timelines that we have for building the four [permanent] supportive housing sites and allowing people to move from temporary to permanent housing, that’s approximately in line with that timeline,” Lindsay said.
Jake Rudolph, the city’s chief administrative officer, said at a council meeting this week that the temporary supportive housing was always intended to be a short-term arrangement.
“My understanding is B.C. Housing’s quite motivated to get into more permanent housing arrangements, because it’s a cost model that they’re finding expensive to service with those trailers there,” he said.
A property at 250 Terminal Ave. is also home to temporary supportive housing. That property was previously identified as a permanent location for both supportive and affordable housing.
B.C. Housing provided progress reports on the four permanent supportive housing projects in the works. The building at 702 Nicol St. is expected to open in October and construction at the 285 Prideaux St. site is expected to get underway in November. A development permit for 355 Nicol St. is expected to be submitted to the city this fall or winter. The 250 Terminal Ave. supportive housing project is in the design and development phase.
“When our permanent purpose-built supportive housing sites in Nanaimo are completed and residents housed, the temporary supportive housing or ‘workforce housing’ currently located at 2020 Labieux Rd. and 250 Terminal Ave. will be removed,” B.C. Housing noted in the statement.
This past week, Nanaimo city council voted unanimously to direct staff to try to identify two other potential locations for future supportive housing projects outside the downtown or south-end neighbourhood.