For the City of Nanaimo, BC Housing & Island Crisis Care Society to review their proposal

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The South End Coalition of Concerned Citizens formed after a notice received on Monday, July 13, 2020 of the BC Housing projects that have been funded for Nanaimo. Six new projects have been approved for Nanaimo.

BC Housing informed very few people (people living only within 100m of the proposed project), of a new supportive housing development at 702 Nicol Street. BC Housing intends to build approx. 50 units, split between shelter housing and permanent supportive housing as well as a new and expanded Samaritan House. 

Nanaimo South End citizens are very upset about the City’s almost complete failure to communicate these very impactful changes to the neighbourhood. Why have only a few selected houses received the notice and not ALL South End citizens, all of whom will be impacted? 

Of the six new projects, four are crisis/shelter housing and ALL of those are to be built in a concentrated area of the South End. This area has historically been subjected to the disproportionate location of at risk services in their neighbourhoods. The South End CANNOT absorb more. 

The residents of Cranberry successfully lobbied against a BC Housing plan to place Shelter Housing near their community elementary school as it was a danger to the children, yet now it seems acceptable to locate one near a community elementary school with a largely indigenous population. The immediate area also houses daycares and social services as well as two high schools whose young people would also be placed in daily discomfort and potential danger from the clients of these facilities, regardless of the level of onsite supervision and especially if they are not properly supervised and staffed.

The Housing First Model does not include guaranteed provisions for 24h staffing of trained floor monitors and Security staff, and no in-house provisions for treatment and rehab are included in the project proposals. Lack of supervision and the absence of in-house supports results in theft, trespass and harassment of residents in the surrounding area. 

The City previously committed to diversifying the location of shelter/crisis facilities throughout the City. This project ignores that commitment and perpetuates the problems associated with the over-concentration of facilities for the hard to serve homeless in South Nanaimo. 

Having heard from BC Housing in the past that a maximum of 34 units is the best for any type of supportive housing, we are doubly shocked that they also plan on putting more than the optimal number of units at each of the four proposed locations here in the South End. 

Our concern is the concentration and overpopulation of these sites in the SOUTH END. We are completely in favour of supporting people in need, and are very happy the BC government is investing in such needed housing, but services and housing need to be located in all communities and areas of Nanaimo, NOT ONLY IN THE SOUTH END. The South End already provides services somewhere in the double digits to this population and cannot absorb more. We are in support of the provision of needed services throughout the entire city, not concentrated in any one area.

Please sign this petition if you believe the City of Nanaimo, BC Housing & Island Crisis Care Society should review their proposal.