Nanaimo, 285 Prideaux Street – Supportive Housing

Multi-storey supportive housing project rendering


285 Prideaux Street (Community Services Building) is owned by the City of Nanaimo. A portion of the existing Community Services Building is currently being used as a COVID-19 emergency response centre (ERC).

The proposal is to build 51 new permanent homes with supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Nanaimo. BC Housing will request a long-term lease for the site from the City of Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Region John Howard Society will operate the site. There will be staff onsite 24/7.

What is supportive housing?

Supportive housing provides secure homes for people who need supports. These supports allow residents to shift to a more stable and healthy life.

All residents will:

  • Currently live in Nanaimo
  • Apply to live in the building
  • Pay rent
  • Sign a program agreement (like a tenancy agreement)

BC Housing engaged to community to receive input into the design of the building and property. View selected design choices.

If you have any questions about this project please contact us at communityrelations@bchousing.org

Neighbourhood Engagement

BC Housing and partners hosted neighbourhood dialogues on December 14 and 16, 2020 to discuss the project in more detail and collect feedback into the exterior and landscape design of the building.

A survey was live on this page to collect input into the proposed design options from December 11, 2020 – January 6, 2021.

BC Housing and its partners hosted online virtual neighbourhood meetings on August 12, to share information about the plan for 258 Prideaux Street, answer questions and collect community feedback with the public. Please view video recording of the event below.

You can also view the presentation from the neighbourhood meeting, and send questions and feedback through the Q&A tool below. We welcome your feedback.



You can also view the presentation from the neighbourhood meeting, and send questions and feedback through the Q&A tool below. We welcome your feedback.

Community Advisory Committee

We will be looking at setting up a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) with representatives from BC Housing, the housing operator, other partners, community organizations and community members. We will also be working with established neighbourhood associations and organizations to successfully integrate the new buildings and residents into the community.



285 Prideaux Street (Community Services Building) is owned by the City of Nanaimo. A portion of the existing Community Services Building is currently being used as a COVID-19 emergency response centre (ERC).

The proposal is to build 51 new permanent homes with supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Nanaimo. BC Housing will request a long-term lease for the site from the City of Nanaimo.

Nanaimo Region John Howard Society will operate the site. There will be staff onsite 24/7.

What is supportive housing?

Supportive housing provides secure homes for people who need supports. These supports allow residents to shift to a more stable and healthy life.

All residents will:

  • Currently live in Nanaimo
  • Apply to live in the building
  • Pay rent
  • Sign a program agreement (like a tenancy agreement)

BC Housing engaged to community to receive input into the design of the building and property. View selected design choices.

If you have any questions about this project please contact us at communityrelations@bchousing.org

Neighbourhood Engagement

BC Housing and partners hosted neighbourhood dialogues on December 14 and 16, 2020 to discuss the project in more detail and collect feedback into the exterior and landscape design of the building.

A survey was live on this page to collect input into the proposed design options from December 11, 2020 – January 6, 2021.

BC Housing and its partners hosted online virtual neighbourhood meetings on August 12, to share information about the plan for 258 Prideaux Street, answer questions and collect community feedback with the public. Please view video recording of the event below.

You can also view the presentation from the neighbourhood meeting, and send questions and feedback through the Q&A tool below. We welcome your feedback.



You can also view the presentation from the neighbourhood meeting, and send questions and feedback through the Q&A tool below. We welcome your feedback.

Community Advisory Committee

We will be looking at setting up a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) with representatives from BC Housing, the housing operator, other partners, community organizations and community members. We will also be working with established neighbourhood associations and organizations to successfully integrate the new buildings and residents into the community.


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  • Hello - When I commented previous (see below) it was not about appearances or architecture, it is about destroying the existing community. Can you re-respond relevantly? Also, what plans are there to support the existing community residents? "This plan is destructive and disruptive in scale. I live on Prideaux street near the planned site and I am very concerned that this project will destroy the community, culture and character of my neighbourhood. This plan will increase the number of residents on this street from 5-6 to 55-56 - that is incredibly harmful and disruptive to our existing community."

    patw asked 7 months ago

     A Community Advisory Committee will be created to discuss any emergent and ongoing issues towards building a safer and healthier community, with representation that may include BC Housing, Vancouver Island Health Authority, the City of Nanaimo, local RCMP, local service providers and community members at large. 

    We want to ensure that people are successful at maintaining housing stability. BC Housing and the non-profit operators will collaborate with local service providers in a thoughtful and thorough resident selection process that ensures staff can effectively manage the housing and provide the necessary support services for residents. 

    All residents sign a Program Agreement that sets out expectations to be a good neighbour and resident.  If an operator ends an agreement and evicts a resident, they would look into housing and shelter options, so that people will not become homeless again.

    The supportive housing will provide permanent homes for residents in need. For some residents, this will be their forever home. However, BC Housing and the non-profit operator will also work with residents on a transition plan into market rental housing when residents are ready and no longer require supportive housing. 

  • Where will the residents access mental health and addictions supports? Will the residents access these supports before moving into the building? If not, why not? How will the residents be supported to be good neighbors?

    CarBar asked 7 months ago

    The Nanaimo Region John Howard Society will be the non-profit housing operator at 285 Prideaux Street. They will work with individuals to help stabilize their lives now that they are housed. 

    We partner with health authorities to ensure staff are regularly onsite to provide a range of inpatient and outpatient services to building residents such as mental health and substance use, including treatment services, primary care and public health services. Services and referrals will be provided both onsite as well as appropriate referrals to off-site services.

    All residents sign a Program Agreement that sets out expectations to be a good neighbour and resident.

    BC Housing and the non-profit operators will collaborate with local service providers in a thoughtful and thorough resident selection process that ensures staff can effectively manage the housing and provide the necessary support services for residents. 

  • You are doing a good job of rolling out permanent supportive/affordable housing and I thank you for that. However, I am very concerned about providing enough temporary affordable/supportive housing to take all the people without housing off the street and out of the parks NOW! I like the temporary housing being provided on Terminal Avenue, Nanaimo, but we need more of this immediately. We have empty parking lots and vacant land where we could put temporary housing like trailers, mini houses, renovated shipping containers, etc. I hear today that Vancouver is going to put in supportive facilities like washrooms in Strathcona Park for the tent city there. The use of parks with people living in tents is a totally inappropriate way to provide temporary housing for homeless people. Is the next place Bowen Park, Nanaimo, where I walk everyday? Parks are available public land, and, if we do not provide other temporary housing options, that is where the homeless are going to go with legal support for the choice.

    Mayta asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for the feedback. We agree with you that there is an urgent need to secure both temporary and permanent housing.  To respond to these issues, the Province, through the Rapid Response to Housing (RRH) Fund, is investing $291 million to build over 2,000 modular supportive housing units across B.C. for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This initiative will deliver a mix of permanent and temporary homes for people who urgently need housing.   

    While this rapid response creates relief in the short term, the Province recognizes the need for permanent supportive housing to help people maintain housing security and improve their lives over the long term.  We’re working in partnership with the City of Nanaimo to increase the supply of affordable housing in Nanaimo with more than 880 homes completed or underway.   

    The new supportive housing and affordable rental housing developments announced this past summer for Nanaimo will add approximately 300 much needed homes over the next few years. 

    In the meantime, a temporary shelter was opened in mid-November at St. Peters Church, and we continue to work with community partners on additional shelter opportunities until such time as the permanent supportive housing sites are opened.  

  • Why does this supportive housing have to be in an area that has numerous addicted people roaming the neighbourhood now...I don't understand the planning and don't agree with it...As a long time resident of the area I'm very disappointed..It appears that one of the main reasons this site has been chosen is that the city owns it...Is it considered best because of location or convenient because the city has title...I recently read that the RCMP are looking to expand their operations and have struck a committee to consider expansion in the area...Wouldn't it be more beneficial to the citizens of this community if that expansion occurred on that site?..The priorities seem strained with regard to this decision and I will sign a petition rejecting this proposal

    mamazoola asked 8 months ago

    BC Housing engaged the City of Nanaimo and other community partners to locate and secure available properties to support Nanaimo in meeting their community goals for addressing homelessness. BC Housing looks to acquire property based on where there is an urgent need for more housing.  

    Housing for people experiencing homelessness needs to meet people where they are, providing connection to the resources that people need to work towards living a healthy, stable life.   

    As you note, people experiencing homelessness are already a part of the community; we want to help them find safe and stable housing and bring people inside from the streets.  

    The plan for 285 Prideaux is to redevelop the site for new permanent, purpose-built, supportive housing with approximately 50 new homes for people experiencing homelessness in the community. Housing priority will be given to residents coming from the temporary housing developments at 250 Terminal and 2020 Labieux and are therefore already established residents in the area.  

    The new development at 285 Prideaux street represents a major investment in creating housing solutions for Nanaimo. The new housing does not negatively impact any plans for RCMP expansion in the area.   

    We are currently seeking input into the design of the landscaping and the exterior finishes. Please visit our Let’s Talk page to view the design options and complete a survey: https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/nanaimo-285-prideaux-street  

  • How many residents attended the virtual meeting?

    Gord Fuller asked 11 months ago

    BC Housing, the City of Nanaimo and their partners have held two virtual meetings for the proposed development at 285 Prideaux Street. There were 20 individuals who participated.  

  • You spoke of services available but did not indicate how many are available immediately. How many rehab beds are available right now if someone were to want to get clear of an addiction?

    Kathleen asked 12 months ago

    Hi Kathleen, thanks for joining the discussion. Just to clarify, supportive housing provides permanent homes with supports to connect people to the resources they need to work towards living a healthy, stable life. That could include daily meals, treatment, employment and life-skills programming, and other supports. 

    BC Housing and the non-profit operators partner with Island Health to ensure staff are regularly onsite to provide a range of inpatient and outpatient services to building residents including mental health and substance use, including treatment services, primary care and public health services if residents which to utilize those services. Services and referrals will be provided both onsite as well as appropriate referrals to off-site services.

    The permanent supportive housing developments are not rehabilitation or detox centres. Island Health provides access to referrals to mental health and substance use services. For more information, please visit https://www.islandhealth.ca/our-services/mental-health-substance-use-services/access-referrals-mental-health-substance-use-services/referrals-nanaimo-mental-health-substance-use

  • When will the video be up?

    Gord Fuller asked 12 months ago

    Hello Gord, 

    The 285 Prideaux virtual meeting has been posted: https://letstalkhousingbc.ca/nanaimo-285-prideaux-street

  • The concentration of sites to the south end is too excessive and should be spread out to other areas. There is an imbalance when compared to areas like North Nanaimo and the hospital district that have more access to appropriate services. I feel the locations of sites are intended to capitalize on the powerlessness of already burdened low income and vulnerable existing residents of South Nanaimo while then to sidestepping any conflicts with the advantaged and priviledged residents that characterize north and central areas of Nanaimo. This harmful and unfair and does not create community or share resources or supports within Nanaimo as a whole - it only deepens the divide and encourages prejudice and contempt between the North and South sides of the city. The plan is harmful to our community and culture.

    patw asked 12 months ago

    We are proposing a major investment in housing with the development of approximately 50 new permanent homes with supports at 285 Prideaux Street for those who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo. These are members of the community – including seniors, and/or people with disabilities.

    Supportive housing locations are determined based on proximity to transit, access to amenities, and availability of sites. After considering a range of sites across Nanaimo, the four supportive housing sites selected under the Memorandum of Understanding were the best options available. There were limited options available for purchase that met the necessary criteria within the North End at this time. However, there are currently other supportive housing developments in the North, including Uplands Walk, Boundary Crescent, Rosstown Road and Waddington. We continue to look at future available sites throughout the city.

    Housing for people experiencing homelessness needs to meet people where they currently are, and then provide a connection to the resources they need to work towards living a healthy, stable life. There will be on-site supports provided including daily meals, treatment, and employment and life-skills programming. We partner with Island Health to ensure staff are regularly onsite to provide a range of inpatient and outpatient services to building residents. 

    We want to work with the community to ensure successful integration of these new homes. A Community Advisory Committee will be established that will address ongoing community feedback or concerns. We all have a role to play in building a strong, safe and inclusive community and we hope you’ll continue to be part of the discussion as planning progresses. A recording of the virtual neighbourhood meetings that occurred on August 12, 2020 has been posted to this page.  

  • This plan is destructive and disruptive in scale. I live on Prideaux street near the planned site and I am very concerned that this project will destroy the community, culture and character of my neighbourhood. This plan will increase the number of residents on this street from 5-6 to 55-56 - that is incredibly harmful and disruptive to our existing community.

    patw asked 12 months ago

    The building will be permanent supportive housing and the architecture will integrate into the neighbourhood aesthetic. BC Housing and the City of Nanaimo will work to implement design preferences of the community. We can incorporate different architectural styles into the building – there is flexibility and it is not a one size fits all approach. To see some example photos, check out the supportive housing case study overview on our Let’s Talk webpage.

  • Who is answering these questions and why are you not answering any of them? Seems to me like a lot of cut and paste which makes you look foolish. We will have to live with this housing while you are living in Woodgrove.

    gf asked 12 months ago

    Hello, 

    Questions to our Let’s Talk website are responded to by BC Housing’s Community Relations team, with input from our planning and operations teams, as well as with our partners from the City of Nanaimo. It is important to us ensure questions and concerns from the community are being responded to. Do you have a question that has not  yet been answered? Please let us know. You can also send questions to communityrelations@bchousing.org