Nanaimo - 355 Nicol Street – Supportive Housing

Rendering of proposed supportive housing at 355 Nicol Street.


The culturally supportive housing project at 355 Nicol Street is part of two Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) between BC Housing, the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and the City of Nanaimo. Located on the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the building at 355 Nicol will have five floors, with 35 studio apartments, four of which would be fully accessible. Once completed, the new permanent homes will provide culturally sensitive, long-term housing for Snuneymuxw members and other Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Assuming rezoning approval, construction will begin summer 2023 with a projected completion of winter 2024.

Funded by BC Housing, the building will provide safe, supportive studio homes with supports in a beautiful building designed from an Indigenous perspective. Care has also been taken to align the design with the 702 Nicol several blocks away. The building design has been augmented with a number of features to connect it with the land including Indigenous plantings, a water feature and communal outdoors spaces.

The operator

Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN) will be the operator of 355 Nicol and is best positioned to provide this service as they have the strong relationships, experience, and knowledge in the community to make this housing a success.

Learn more about SFN at: https://www.snuneymuxw.ca/.

What is supportive housing?

Supportive housing is for British Columbians experiencing or at risk of homelessness. People experiencing homelessness are not all the same. They can be young people, seniors, or people with physical or mental disabilities. They may have experienced trauma, poverty, or struggled with the high cost of housing.

Supportive housing provides secure homes with support services to allow residents to shift to a more stable and healthy life. Staff will be onsite 24/7. All residents:

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

To help address the data that shows more than one third of people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo are self-identified as having Indigenous ancestry, 355 Nicol will prioritize Snuneymuxw members first. Followed by other First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people. If any vacancies remain, SFN will work with BC Housing to identify potential non-Indigenous residents.

Community engagement

BC Housing and the City of Nanaimo hosted design engagement with the community from April 28 to May 26, 2022. Public feedback was then collected online until April 2023. The purpose of these engagement activities was to inform the community and collect comments and questions from neighbourhood residents on the proposed supportive housing development, and future affordable housing component.

In addition to meetings with stakeholders, a virtual info session was held on May 25, 2022. Community members had the opportunity to meet our project team, view designs, and ask questions about the project. Thank you to those who participated; your feedback was considered by BC Housing, along with technical, socio-cultural, and financial factors and input received through the Design Engagement helped shape the final project design.

Get in touch

Questions and comments about the project can be submitted at any time through the form below. You may also contact us by email at communityrelations@bchousing.org or by calling 604-829-9321.


The culturally supportive housing project at 355 Nicol Street is part of two Memorandum of Understanding (MOUs) between BC Housing, the Snuneymuxw First Nation, and the City of Nanaimo. Located on the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the building at 355 Nicol will have five floors, with 35 studio apartments, four of which would be fully accessible. Once completed, the new permanent homes will provide culturally sensitive, long-term housing for Snuneymuxw members and other Indigenous people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Assuming rezoning approval, construction will begin summer 2023 with a projected completion of winter 2024.

Funded by BC Housing, the building will provide safe, supportive studio homes with supports in a beautiful building designed from an Indigenous perspective. Care has also been taken to align the design with the 702 Nicol several blocks away. The building design has been augmented with a number of features to connect it with the land including Indigenous plantings, a water feature and communal outdoors spaces.

The operator

Snuneymuxw First Nation (SFN) will be the operator of 355 Nicol and is best positioned to provide this service as they have the strong relationships, experience, and knowledge in the community to make this housing a success.

Learn more about SFN at: https://www.snuneymuxw.ca/.

What is supportive housing?

Supportive housing is for British Columbians experiencing or at risk of homelessness. People experiencing homelessness are not all the same. They can be young people, seniors, or people with physical or mental disabilities. They may have experienced trauma, poverty, or struggled with the high cost of housing.

Supportive housing provides secure homes with support services to allow residents to shift to a more stable and healthy life. Staff will be onsite 24/7. All residents:

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

To help address the data that shows more than one third of people experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo are self-identified as having Indigenous ancestry, 355 Nicol will prioritize Snuneymuxw members first. Followed by other First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people. If any vacancies remain, SFN will work with BC Housing to identify potential non-Indigenous residents.

Community engagement

BC Housing and the City of Nanaimo hosted design engagement with the community from April 28 to May 26, 2022. Public feedback was then collected online until April 2023. The purpose of these engagement activities was to inform the community and collect comments and questions from neighbourhood residents on the proposed supportive housing development, and future affordable housing component.

In addition to meetings with stakeholders, a virtual info session was held on May 25, 2022. Community members had the opportunity to meet our project team, view designs, and ask questions about the project. Thank you to those who participated; your feedback was considered by BC Housing, along with technical, socio-cultural, and financial factors and input received through the Design Engagement helped shape the final project design.

Get in touch

Questions and comments about the project can be submitted at any time through the form below. You may also contact us by email at communityrelations@bchousing.org or by calling 604-829-9321.

Have a question or comment? Please write below.

Guidelines for constructive and respectful dialogue

  • Please ensure your question is clear, concise, relevant to the project, and respectful.
  • Review our moderation policy. Questions that do not abide by the moderation policy or guidelines for respectful dialogue may not be answered.
  • We expect everyone will refrain from using language or acting in a way that is discriminating, threatening, abusive, racist or otherwise disrespectful. Discrimination or abusive language of any kind will not be tolerated.
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  • I live right beside the food forest at 374 Haliburton and couldn't be more proud to be next to a place that supports people in this way. Having an outdoor space such as the food forest that is currently there and remodeling it will serve the community greatly and help keep the area clean and safe for the community members. I tend to the food forest now all tines of year and have had some wonderful uplifting experiences in there but I have also had some pretty disheartening ones. I am glad to see housing and pride in our community.

    Sam D asked about 1 year ago

    Thank you, Sam, for the kind message and support. 

     

    Sincerely, 

    Jenny

    BC Housing Community Relations Team 

  • How many residents attended the virtual meeting?

    Gord Fuller asked over 3 years 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 over 3 years 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 over 3 years 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 over 3 years 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 over 3 years 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. 

Page last updated: 21 Dec 2023, 10:41 AM