There is hope that a new approach will help find a solution to the homeless crisis in Nanaimo.
Funded by the City of Nanaimo, it will collect information to help lobby senior levels of government for funding to better tackle the homelessness crisis.
A former city councillor is chairing the board of directors and says they’ll be answering to the city and the Snuneymuxw First Nation.
“Providing them with research and information so they can advocate to higher levels of government knowing full well this is exactly what Nanaimo needs to help us deal with the question of health and housing and homelessness in our city,” said Don Bonner.
It stems from a key recommendation from the Health and Housing Action Plan adopted by City Council in 2021.
They’ve just hired an executive director who says while Nanaimo is just one of many communities with homelessness, its numbers are unusually and unacceptably high.
“Nanaimo is really feeling it in a way that maybe no other community in Canada is, from a population perspective, as well as the absolute percentage, numbers are quite high and it’s quite a difficult situation.”
McCormick says it’s more difficult given the constraints that exist around development and how quickly the city is growing.
Nanaimo’s Mayor, Leonard Krog, says it’s a hopeful exercise funded by the city.
“A lot of money is spent on the health of our community around homelessness, addiction, mental health, brain injury trauma and I think most of us think it’s not producing much by way of good results.”
Those involved are optimistic the new approach, which has been launched in some other municipalities across Canada will be beneficial
“I know that we’re going to solve this problem. It may take a while right but I honestly believe things are going to get better here,” said Bonner.
The organization will start operations in April. It’s been funded by $450,000 annually over four years.