Nanaimo - 355 Nicol Street – Supportive Housing

Illustration of supportive housing


355 Nicol Street is owned by BC Housing. Samaritan House, operated by Island Crisis Care Society, provides shelter and transition housing to women experiencing or at risk of homelessness. These services will be temporarily relocated to 285 Prideaux as part of the COVID-19 emergency response centre starting Summer 2020, and eventually permanently relocate to 702 Nicol when the new permanent supportive housing and shelter space is ready.

Once the site is vacant, BC Housing will move forward on a plan to demolish the building and build 40 new permanent purpose-built homes with supports for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Nanaimo.

All new supportive housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing. Experienced staff provide support to tenants, based on their assessed needs. Supports include medical and mental health and addictions services, as well as food, laundry, and security. An operator has not yet been selected for this site. All residents will pay rent.

Virtual Neighbourhood Meeting

BC Housing and its partners hosted online virtual neighbourhood meetings on August 13, to share information about the plan for 355 Nicol 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.

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 the neighbourhood association and the downtown business community to successfully integrate the new buildings and residents into the community.




355 Nicol Street is owned by BC Housing. Samaritan House, operated by Island Crisis Care Society, provides shelter and transition housing to women experiencing or at risk of homelessness. These services will be temporarily relocated to 285 Prideaux as part of the COVID-19 emergency response centre starting Summer 2020, and eventually permanently relocate to 702 Nicol when the new permanent supportive housing and shelter space is ready.

Once the site is vacant, BC Housing will move forward on a plan to demolish the building and build 40 new permanent purpose-built homes with supports for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Nanaimo.

All new supportive housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing. Experienced staff provide support to tenants, based on their assessed needs. Supports include medical and mental health and addictions services, as well as food, laundry, and security. An operator has not yet been selected for this site. All residents will pay rent.

Virtual Neighbourhood Meeting

BC Housing and its partners hosted online virtual neighbourhood meetings on August 13, to share information about the plan for 355 Nicol 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.

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 the neighbourhood association and the downtown business community to successfully integrate the new buildings and residents into the community.



Thank you for your interest in this project. Answers will be posted the week of Monday, October 26, 2020. 


Have a question or comment? Please write below.

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  • How many residents attended the virtual meeting?

    Gord Fuller asked about 1 month ago

    BC Housing, the City of Nanaimo and their partners have held two virtual meetings so for the proposed development at 355 Nicol Street. There were 29 people who participated.  

  • Hello Why is the plan include tearing down an existing building at 355 can we not leave samaritan house where it is and add on or build another building beside it.

    Pam asked about 2 months ago

    Hello Pam,

    The proposed plan is to build brand new, modern, purpose-built supportive housing at the site. Due to the lot shape and size, as well as land use policies associated with the lot, we are not in a position to build an add-on or another building beside the existing building. The new building will also be able to double the capacity of homes with supports on this site for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Nanaimo with this new build. 

    In addition, BC Housing wants to be able to expand the great work that Island Crisis Care Society is doing with the Samaritan House. 355 Nicol Street is a smaller lot size than 702 Nicol Street. The services at Samaritan house will be transferred to the new build at 702 Nicol Street, which will be able to offer a lot more space for amenities and community areas. 

  • Hello wondering why we do not know who will be operating this site yet

    Pam asked about 2 months ago

    Hi Pam, 

    When selecting an operator, BC Housing looks at several things such as operator capacity, special supports for the demographic, expertise and experience, staffing levels and staffing model. As we are still determining the current need of who will be living at 355 Nicol Street, we will be looking at the best operator to support those residents once determined.

  • How do residents pay rent? Also, are there any plans to use various housing as part of a continuum of care for those seeking treatment for drug addictions. I feel that much of what is being done is simply warehousing of people, some of those using their rooms for storage of stolen goods? Security is in place at some of these facilities and I would also like to know what purpose they are to serve? Are there any plans for dry housing to help those with addictions, and those currently in treatment to move on with their life? As a person that has worked around addictions for almost 20 years, and who has presented a plan covering various services including dry housing, it appears to fall on deaf ears.

    Rick Hyne asked 2 months ago

    Hi Rick, thanks for the questions. Many of these questions were asked and discussed during the morning virtual neighbourhood meeting on August 13, perhaps by you? A recording of that presentation has now been posted on this page, and we would direct you to the 24-minute mark on the video to hear the responses to these questions. We appreciate the engagement. 

    In terms of residents paying rent, individuals apply for supportive housing through BC Housing’s Supportive Housing Registration Service, which provides a single point of access for supportive housing funded through BC Housing. Applicants only have to register once, rather than registering with multiple housing Providers. BC Housing will work with non-profit operators to assess each individual and their needs, including sources of income, and potential provincially funded subsidies. 

  • Will this site be the new womans shelter ?

    karenmills asked 3 months ago

    The new housing at 355 Nicol Street will not be a shelter. BC Housing is planning on developing permanent, purpose-built homes at this site that will provide onsite support services. The focus for the B.C. government is to create housing that helps people move off the streets permanently and helps people re-build their lives. 

    The women who are currently accessing emergency shelter services at this site through the Samaritan House will be able to continue accessing shelter and supportive housing at a new temporary location until new permanent, supportive housing is built.