Nanaimo’s tent city demolished, mayor says more housing needed


WATCH: Crews demolished what was left of Nanaimo’s tent city today. Most of the residents moved into supportive housing but some will be left out in the cold. As Kendall Hanson reports the city’s mayor says more housing is still needed.

With Nanaimo’s tent city now closed, crews focused today on the cleanup.

Many people with help from two excavators and a heavy police presence sorted mounds of debris to be taken away.

The job now possible as most of the former campers here have moved into two supportive housing complexes.

“The good news is that over the last two weeks 155 who were formerly residing at the tent city on Port Drive are now inside,” said Donovan Flanagan of B.C. Housing. “So people who were formerly homeless now have somewhere to live.”

They are still trying to find people who signed up for the other 12 spots but with this year’s homeless count identifying 335 homeless the government recognizes some will still be on the street.

The province says it recently opened 35 extra shelter spaces and it increased the number of outreach workers are in the city but Nanaimo’s mayor says more housing is needed.

“Ultimately creation of the housing is a provincial government responsibility. I’m hoping the federal government will continue to take steps to address this nationwide,” said Leonard Krog, Nanaimo’s Mayor.

“But the city of Nanaimo and the council are committed to doing what it can to fulfill its role to ensure that people aren’t homeless in Nanaimo.”

Stephanie Loder is among those who want to live in supportive housing.

“But they said there’s no luck for us pretty much,” said Loder. “We don’t know what to do.”

Michelle Caplette spent most of the past seven months living at tent city. She says she did not feel safe there but she does in her new supportive home on Labieux Road.

“I’m happy with it,” said Caplette. “I could live like this for a few years anyways until I could get a bigger place but otherwise, it’s great. No one is acting up like the way they did at tent city. It’s really quiet.”

Community advisory meetings will start later this month to discuss with neighbours of the new supportive housing any problems should they arise.

The end of tent city marking a new beginning for some while others are scrambling for a new place to call home.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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