Supportive housing project breaks ground in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Dignitaries, residents mark construction of the newest supportive housing project in Nanaimo.

Anne Taylor

Anne Taylor

Women fleeing abuse will have a place to stay at Nanaimo’s new $9.6-million supportive housing project.

Construction is underway for the only remaining supportive housing project planned for Nanaimo under the province’s Housing First Strategy.

Residents and local dignitaries gathered at the site Friday to mark the start of the 41-unit project, which will house the homeless and those at risk of homelessness, including women fleeing from abuse.

It’s the fourth supportive housing project in Nanaimo, following Uplands Walk.

Coun. Wendy Pratt, acting mayor, said the city is excited about the project.

“It confirms once again the City of Nanaimo’s commitment to ensuring everyone living in our community has safe and affordable access to housing,” she said. “It also affirms that each person has value, regardless of their circumstances and that no one should fall so far in this community that they have to live and sleep on the streets.”

The Boundary Crescent complex will be jointly operated by Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society, Haven Society and Vancouver Island Mental Health Society and offers a secure floor and support for women fleeing abuse.

Anne Taylor, executive director of Haven Society, said one of the organization’s biggest challenges is providing safe and affordable second-stage housing for women to establish a life free of violence, she said.

“This project is going to allow us to be able to … provide 13 single women who are leaving abusive relationships the opportunity to establish a life that’s violence-free,” Taylor said.

Jim Spinelli, executive director of the housing society, said the project experienced slow downs thanks to land negotiations with the city to re-designing a project that was beyond what B.C. Housing was willing to support.

The project is anticipated to be open by mid-October.