On Wednesday, officials from B.C. Housing and Pacifica Housing invited local media to tour 2020 Labieux Rd., where construction crews continue to work on installing 90 units of temporary supportive modular housing on the property. NICHOLAS PESCOD/The News Bulletin

Residents expected to move into Labieux Road supportive housing this week

B.C. Housing and Pacifica Housing lead tour of Nanaimo site

The first wave of residents could move into temporary supportive housing currently under construction at Labieux Road by the end of the week.

On Wednesday, officials from B.C. Housing and Pacifica Housing invited local media to tour 2020 Labieux Rd., where construction crews continue to work on installing 90 units of temporary supportive modular housing on the property.

B.C. Housing is currently constructing temporary supportive housing at the Labieux site as well as at 250 Terminal Ave., in an attempt to house people living at Discontent City, which is expected to close on Nov. 30. Pacifica Housing will be operate and provide on-site support services at the Labieux Road site.

Dominic Flanagan, executive director for B.C. Housing, told reporters a total of 86 people will live at the Labieux Road site, with around 20-25 people moving into the modular housing beginning Nov. 30.

“People will be moving in this Friday. It will be a staggered move over a number of days,” he said, adding that everyone should be moved in by the middle of next week.

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Although Flanagan didn’t provide exact figures about how many people from Discontent City will be moving into the Labieux Road or Terminal Avenue sites, he stressed that B.C. Housing’s focus is to get people out of tent city and into shelter.

“The priority is to move people inside from the tent city because the tent city will be closing in the next week,” he said. “It’s important that everybody at the tent city has access to either housing like this kind of housing or shelter space.”

Angela McNulty-Buell, director of support services for Pacifica Housing, told reporters that her organization will offer services to residents based on their individual needs. She said that includes everything from mental health and addiction support to needing help writing a resume or finding a job.

“It really is everything from individuals that may have anxiety and experience some hesitation in accessing supports in the community or even being in the community. It can be something as small as that to as large as returning to school, getting employment, going into treatment,” she said. “It really is dependent on the individual.”

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Residents living at Labieux Road will be able to use on-site computers and televisions, which will be in common areas as well as some units. Residents will also have the freedom to consume alcohol within their unit, according McNulty-Buell.

“Call it wet or dry housing, it’s housing where individuals live independently and can consume whatever substance, whether that is alcohol or whatever within the confines of their space,” she said.

An online petition opposing a supportive housing project on Labieux Road was started last month by a nearby resident. A petition and a lawsuit opposing the Terminal Avenue site have also been started. Since then, B.C. Housing has held a number of community engagement sessions in the city to address residents’ concerns.

Flanagan said the community engagement sessions, which have taken place throughout November, were informative. He said it’s clear homelessness is an issue of concern for residents in the city.

“What we’ve heard is that the people in Nanaimo, the community realizes, that there is a really need in this city to address the problem of homelessness,” he said.

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