Nanaimo’s tent city residents to start moving into social housing Friday


WATCH: BC Housing took the media on a tour of the social housing that’s scheduled to be ready this Friday. Work is happening around the clock to ensure the Atco trailers are ready for Nanaimo’s tent city residents to move into. Kendall Hanson reports.

For the first time, CHEK News seeing inside the news trailers that are nearing completion in Nanaimo.

They’ve been built for the homeless now living at Nanaimo’s tent city.

“This is a typical double occupancy unit that we have,” said Fernando Fei, of BC Housing.

BC Housing says 86 people will be moving into the Labieux Road facilities in the next week. Crews are rushing to get everything done in time.

“The contractor is putting in 24 hours shifts,” said Fei.

The housing does not come without controversy. More than 1,700 people have signed an online petition stating the site, being right across the street from Beban Park, is not an appropriate location.

But BC Housing is holding meetings this week hoping information about how it will be run will calm fears.

The society operating the housing says there will normally be at least three staff on site.

“We’re going to have 24/7 support staff,” said Angela McNulty-Buell. “Those supports range from registered social workers to mental health and addiction support workers, cooks, home and community care supports, manager, team leads.”

Other supports will be provided depending on their needs. And occupants will be paying rent to stay in the single or double occupancy units.

Most amenities including toilets, showers, laundry and kitchen areas are shared.

Some at tent city say the housing is a matter of life or death.

“For me, it’s a matter of survival,” said Adam Morley, who’s lived off and on at Nanaimo’s tent city. “I’ve got pneumonia and I’m stuck on the street trying to deal with it.”

Morley has been homeless for a year and he’s hoping to be among the first to move in.

“It’s going to make life a lot easier, absolutely,” he said.

The housing is an interim measure as the city, province and Pacific Housing looks for better options.

“That will be our goal to continue to advocate and push for long-term permanent housing for everyone in Nanaimo,” said McNulty-Buell.

The tent city is slated to begin closing on Friday, with residents moving into these new homes between Friday through the middle of next week.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!