New supportive housing model pitched for Nanaimo’s Uplands Drive

NANAIMO – Nanaimo Association for Community Living has pitched a townhouse development on Uplands Drive.

A proposed townhouse development will open its doors to people with developmental disabilities.

Nanaimo Association for Community Living, a non-profit supporting people with developmental disabilities, wants to build a $2.5-million townhouse development at 3425 Uplands Dr.

Rented to a blend of people with developmental disabilities and low-end of market renters, it will be the first development of its kind for the organization and anticipated to fill a gap.

Not all residents in the area are on board, with concerns about the potential renters, traffic and the loss of peace and tranquility. But Marg Fraser finds the housing exciting.

It’s a culmination of a four-year vision by a group of Nanaimo parents who wanted assisted-living for their children, where they could live in an apartment-like spaces surrounded by their peers and still get support. For Fraser’s 35-year-old daughter Leanne, it could also means a place of her own.

“She’s always known she needs a degree of support, but she wanted to move away from home and she wanted to move into her own space,” said Fraser, who sees this model as exactly what Leanne wanted and assures she will be living in safe, affordable and comfortable environment.

Nanaimo has options for housing for people with developmental disabilities, from independent living to group homes and home-shares with caregivers. But there’s a lack of housing for people “in the middle” – those who still need some help but are also independent, according to Nanaimo Association for Community Living executive director Graham Morry.

Morry, who has heard concern about the mix of tenants, said his vision is of an inclusive environment. Already more people want to live there than there’s room to house.

Security was a concern for the parent group, according to Marilyn Chapman. She said this proposal is different from the parents’ vision and she’s not convinced two different tenant groups is a good idea, but still sees the project as innovative.

The project will go to public hearing as part of a rezoning process. Currently, no financing is in place.

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