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Nanaimo Candidates' Forum

Homelessness and affordable housing are among the hottest topics in Nanaimo's upcoming municipal election. To help shed light on where the candidates stand on these issues, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island (UWCNVI) and the Nanaimo Coalition to End Homelessness hosted a Candidates’ Forum October 4th at Beban Park Social Centre.

At the event, members of the public, community stakeholders, and service providing agencies heard from candidates about their position on the current City of Nanaimo strategies to address housing and homelessness (including the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy, the Nanaimo Community Plan to End Homelessness, and the Nanaimo Point-in-Time Homeless Count Report). Attendees also asked questions about how the prospective politicians plan to take action when in office.

Want to know more about where each candidate stands on the issues of housing and homelessness?

We asked every candidate running in the municipal election four questions. Below are those questions and the responses we received from the candidates.


1) What do you know about the housing and homelessness issues we’re experiencing in Nanaimo?

2) Do you endorse and actively commit to achieving the priorities identified in the Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy in your term? Provide details on your priorities and how you would achieve them.

3) Municipalities that are effectively moving the dial on housing and homelessness are buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. Do you endorse these activities/approaches by the City of Nanaimo? If so, how would you deal with NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard-ism) and community push back, while implementing the array of housing and solutions our community requires?

4) Will you support the City of Nanaimo in adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028, and if so what actions will you undertake and support to reach this target?


MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Responses below are what have been submitted to date. We anticipate receiving others.

* Candidates with an asterisk (*) attended our forum. 

Ray Farmere

  1. My name is Ray Farmere and I believe that homelessness is just a state and it can be overcome. Many individuals believe that homelessness is just nothing more than a permanent fixture that is part of modern day Society. This could not be further from the truth. Homelessness is caused by a variety of different factors it is mostly the resultant of different factors. Most of these factors point to a lack of socioeconomic resources. Unfortunately, homelessness can strike at any time to anyone. Although many of us would like to believe that's our emergency savings accounts would cover any emergency. This is not simply the case. Many Canadian citizens live paycheck-to-paycheck, where a sudden, job loss or critical illness could cause any one of our citizens to be threatened homelessness. How many believe that the struggle of the homeless is something that is Unser mountable this is clearly not the case. Homelessness does not discriminate. It could happen to your daughter, your son or a long time friend that you've known for years. Homelessness even happens to people who have retired. Sometimes our bodies don't always weather the storm the way we wanted to. Life circumstances happen and no matter how well we can prepare for the future there are always unforeseen circumstances that we never calculate into our overall budget. Regardless of the reason of what causes homelessness, there is only one way to overcome it. That's way is through positive thinking and resourcefulness. The struggle to return from homelessness increases due to avariety of different factors. Some of these factors may include addiction issues, mental health issues and employment issues. We had homelessness into that equation, these issues seem insurmountable. I believe that everyone deserves a place to rest your head at night. A place in which they can call home. i will make overcoming homelessness easier by ensuring that every region of the city has resources. This includes medical facilities, food banks and low-cost thrift stores. Since I know that's the struggle homelessness is difficult, I want to bring the resources that they needs to overcome homelessness to their doorstep. I also want to increase our tourism industry by allowing a free markets on the streets where people who are lower income would easily be able to creates items for sale giving them a chance at earning additional income for a lower cost.
  2. If elected mayor I strongly endorse and will actively submit to the identified priorities in the homeless plan. My first action would be with support of council and if possible building owners to put together an immediate action plan which will help to get a roof over peoples heads temporarily. I will sit down with our MP right off the bat look at what we need to do to get this plan moving.
  3. I do appreciate and endorse these activities. My first action would be for myself and councill to sit down with the group leaders and hear what they would be able to do for us to make the project effective. Then I would like to take a survey to the people of Nanaimo and see what they would like done. Once I have all the data we can start to form an action plan.
  4. One action I would perform would be to create not for profit organization that builds and administrates housing for the homeless.


Don Hubbard*

  1. I have had many of the same experiences as most Nanaimoites have had. We see homeless people all over our city and many in areas that we don't expect to see them. Tent City is the most obvious however it is only part of the homeless population. I have spoken to many and they all have a different stories with a common theme. If anyone took the time, as I have, you'd find under-employed people that can't find affordable housing, people that have lost their jobs, have addictions, mental illness or are simply down on their luck. This is a very complex issue and requires a multi-faceted approach. There's a severe lack of rental housing of any kind, low cost family housing is impossible to find, and housing for those hard to house people is scarce. Housing is only a small component in this very complex societal issue. The City has done a significant amount of work and has spent a lot of money on this new strategy and our current council have committed to achieving the priorities identified in the plan. I see no reason to de-rail years of hard work unless the plan fails or fails to get the required provincial and federal funding to pull it off. I do endorse this plan and am committed to doing everything I can to make it happen within the means of the City's budget. I will not commit to an endless amount of our taxpayers money, but will work cooperatively with other levels of government to achieve the funding and expertise to help our less fortunate. Right now the province has given up on Nanaimo and we will need to address that before getting any significant traction towards achieving these plans. With a new councils support I would like to start the work to:
    • Provide temporary shelter for those in need. 
    • Identify lands available and engage the neighbourhood to gain public support to build affordable long term housing. 
    • Cut the red tape and development hurdles to build this housing in a timely and affordable manner. The City, its' development charges and bureaucracy adds extra costs, frustration, and time to any project and we can afford to fix that. 
    • Open dialogue and communications with our citizens, we have to stop trying to ram these projects down their throats and expect them to take it. It's not easy but in my world it's not a dictatorship either. 
    • Start the work to improve potential incomes for people with an improved economy by attracting investment, industry, technology and business that can provide good paying jobs for people. (We're witnessing the result of a $15/hr economy, and have the one of the lowest average household incomes of any city in BC. We need to address our economic development. ) 
  2. I believe in consulting with the citizens of Nanaimo the word "NIMBY" is often used for people who were not informed or have a different opinion that no one would listen to. For some reason we have treated these issues differently than a private sector development. We need to listen to the residences and site the locations of these projects appropriately. In the past their have been cases where there was little or no notification. We must learn from past mistakes and start the process with a long term well communicated plan. I believe there is public support for doing things right. We just need to be willing to listen, compromise, and finding reasonable solutions. Everyone in Nanaimo knows that we have this issue and are willing to help us find solutions. I will support the City Of Nanaimo plan with the support of City council.
  3. However one must be mindful that Nanaimo is part of Canada and anyone from Canada can move here. There needs to be a Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments strategy. The Citizens and taxpayers of Nanaimo cannot and should not shoulder the whole load, nor can we become the homeless haven of Canada. We're here to look after our less fortunate and every city should be doing be the same. I will propose to council a communication plan to implement some if not all of the suggestions in the plans. I will work with stakeholders, private business, non-profit groups, other levels of government to provide incentives to build affordable housing. I will work with council to find a way to include an affordable housing plan in new developments. I will work with council and staff to identify strategic properties in the city to build affordable housing I will not now or ever try to ram a project into a neighbourhood without consultation with that neighbourhood. I will not, however, arbitrarily change the rules of things like bed 'n breakfasts without consultation with those stakeholders. 
  4. The issue of homelessness and poverty in Nanaimo are huge and I appreciate the hard work that the United Way and everyone did on this plan but as a council we have to consider the needs of entire city. Realistically the provincial government needs to answer these questions and make these commitments as funding for poverty issues, welfare, healthcare, and social issues are provincial issues. I am extremely worried that this will become another offloading of taxes from the province if we allow them to ignore us any longer. 

 

Leonard Krog*

  1. Statistics show that Nanaimo has had a significant core of poverty for decades. Many have struggled, and continue to do so, with unemployment and “underemployment”. Our issues are neither new, nor are we alone in Nanaimo in facing them. But whether it is home affordability, homelessness, access to mental health services, drug abuse, or domestic violence, it is clear that the taxpayers of Nanaimo cannot solve these issues alone. We should not forget that many social problems have their origins in poor economic circumstances, and that we need to focus on economic development and job creation opportunities as we strive to address the despair that we see in parts of our City. The adage that “the best social program anywhere is a goodpaying job” is as appropriate for Nanaimo as for anywhere else.
  2. I am impressed by the thoughtful analysis and recommendations in the recent Affordable Housing Strategy and the Homelessness Action Plan. Both documents clearly set out ways forward for the City to play its part in addressing the housing situation that exists. The Homelessness Plan also addresses how changes in economic, social and health factors have added levels of complexity to housing provision, and endorse my view that these must be addressed by senior governments if we are to attain the fundamental objective of a stable, and therefore sustainable, housing market. I am prepared to lead a Council and City Staff forward to achieve the priorities identified. This means placing a renewed priority on engaging with senior governments, and their appropriate agencies such as VIHA and BC Housing. It also means ensuring that we support the work of not-for-profit agencies that are involved in responding to the current situation.
  3. Municipalities who are effectively moving the dial on housing and homelessness are buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. Do you endorse these activities/ approaches by our City? If so, how would you deal with NIMBYism and community push back, while implementing the array of housing our community requires? The identification of land and assembly of land parcels, and the zoning of land for housing development is the most critical area in which a municipality can contribute to solving housing issues. We should also understand and respect the fact that residents have a proper interest in how their neighbourhoods, and indeed the entire City is to be planned and developed, and to what use lands will be put. Nanaimo residents are not inexperienced in making positive contributions to these matters. If an interest in local development is called NIMBYism, then we just have to deal with it through providing information and finding ways to quell concerns that arise. Remember that government does not always know best!
  4. Zero homelessness is a noble target for any community. However, in a growing City like Nanaimo, with its proximity to major urban centres that are themselves experiencing problems similar to our own, we have to accept that such a target will be difficult to achieve. Nanaimo has a history of being well below provincial averages in most measurements of social well-being. This should not be a barrier to resolving the current homelessness issue; indeed it should create a new impetus to put this history behind us. Elimination of homelessness requires a coordinated approach not only to issues of zoning and land management, but also economic development and job creation, health and wellness, and education. That is why one of my priorities as Mayor is to create and energize a relationship with our major partners, such as Snuneywuxw First Nation, VIHA, and SD 68.

 
NANAIMO CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES

Responses below are what have been submitted to date. We anticipate receiving others.

* Candidates with an asterisk (*) attended our forum.


Sheryl Armstrong

  1. I am very aware of this situation from my time as a police officer in Nanaimo and as a City Councillor.  There are many types of housing required and more importantly a great need for treatment and access to medical and mental health professionals.  All levels of government do need to work together however the Federal and Provincial Government need to put more funding into preventive measures.  We cannot continue with a bandaid solution. We need to look at each circumstance and develop policies and strategies to address the root cause.  Those who do not have mental health nor substance abuse may just need a home others with issues need support.  The level of support is what we need to address.
  2. Yes I do.  We can work with developers and not for profits to develop market and subsidized housing units.  This can be done with tax incentives.  I would like to see more affordable three  bedroom homes or condos be available for those with low income. This could be done via subsidies or rental agreements. I spoke with a developer and he said this could be done by building a 2 bedroom unit and have a one bedroom or studio attached. Then it could be used as a three bedroom if required.  We need to look at putting more inventory for those younger people who have level entry jobs  and cannot afford to work and live in our community.  We need to encourage more disability friendly units.  Again this can be done via incentives.  We can continue to encourage urban infill development as well.
  3. Municipalities who are effectively moving the dial on housing and homelessness are buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. Do you endorse these activities/approaches by our City? If so, how would you deal with NIMBYism and community push back, while implementing the array of housing our community requires? We need to start community involvement now.  We also have to ensure the community is aware of the type of housing proposed and what it means.  Nanaimo has been doing this and the past 2 years over 200 Affordable or subsidized housing projects have been approved by Council.  We have to understand why NIMBYISM exists and realize some of their fears are real.  The majority of NIMBYISM is not around affordable or subsidized housing but supportive housing.  We have to ensure our site selection for supportive housing has minimal impact on the community.  Success stories need to be shared and if people can meet the residents and get to know their story this can help allay fears. Good neighbourhood agreements are also a good tool to use.
  4. Yes.  We can continue to work with partner agencies and all levels of government.  When the opportunity is available to purchase lands which meet the criteria of many non profits we need to try and purchase it.  We need to build our property acquisition fund so there are dollars available when opportunities arise.  We need to identify potential sites and  begin community engagement now so if dollars are available we will be able to access them and start the build immediately. 

 

Guy Beaulieu*

  1. I am very aware of the current housing and homelessness issues in Nanaimo. I am advocating that the new Council needs to take a leadership role in growing affordable housing. Our current shortage of affordable housing is one of the several root causes of homelessness. This clearly does not include letting $7 million of Provincial money fly away. Sitting passively, hoping that Federal or Provincial housing money arrives in Nanaimo is not a plan. We need to actively seek out this money, lobbying for it and squawking loudly to get our share. As part of a plan we need to encourage and assist community groups that are interested in building affordable housing. The recently completed Nuutsumuut Lelum on Bowen Rd and the recently renovated Sanala Housing (previously the notorious slum complex known as King Arthur Court) are examples of what's required; but many more of these need to be built, not just one offs. Another source of affordable housing is nonprofit co-op housing. Nanaimo has none while Victoria and the Lower Mainland has plenty. I believe that the new Council needs to work on establishing these in Nanaimo also. I am also very aware that Mental Health and Addictions are significant causes of homelessness; yet services for these are woefully inadequate in Nanaimo after nearly two decades of cutbacks to them. The new BC government has a separate Minister of Mental Health & Addictions assigned to these issues that I will want the new Council to collaborate with in looking for solutions. As a Councillor I will lobby hard to upgrade these services for Nanaimo. It's a cop-out to say these are Provincial responsibilities. The Province and the Federal government have the money for these services but we need to get working on it in Nanaimo to dramatically increase them.
  2. I have been a participant in the Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy, attending several meetings and forums to provide my input. I am definitely committed to implementing the recommendations contained in these documents. The first and most immediate priority for homelessness is obviously to deal with the tent city residents that will need assistance in complying with the court order. It will take co-ordinated action by all stakeholders, particularly the City to find shelter space and other temporary housing. The new Council will inherit this as a top priority which I will press if I'm elected to Council. Increasing the affordable rental stock is one of the recommendations that I will give a high priority to. A simple and faster implementation is to actively encourage the growth of suites in existing residences. There are many residences in Nanaimo that are already configured for or can easily be configured for rental with minimal modifications. As a City we need to proactively seek out these potential rental units, then fast-track them through the approval process in order to have them available. Doing this should not take years; but rather months or weeks. As a Council we could look at a tax incentive for anyone who brings a suite onto the rental market. Another priority is to increase the building of new rental units. An example of what can be done is the rental building being constructed by Cracey Holdings at Franklyn and Wallace. While this will be market rentals it will take some of the pressure off our overheated sector. Allowing suites in townhouses, duplexes and row housing is another priority. Working with nonprofit housing groups to build affordable rental units is a very high priority as I have set out on my website.
  3. I endorse the buying of land and zoning for BC Housing investments. The solution for NIMBYism is to have comprehensive consultation with the neighbourhood where it is planned. Residents who are engaged early and allowed meaningful input are less likely to react negatively. A major problem I have seen is the lack of options. In the recent Chase River failure it was the lack of other possible sites. Council had already determined that the next supportive housing should be in the that area, but when questions were raised by residents, they had no other alternatives so ended up losing $7 million in Provincial money. My priority would be to identify numerous locations, work with residents around them and have several options to offer when money becomes available. This is particularly important as the Federal government is also working on a housing strategy.
  4. While I believe that adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028 is a commendable one, I believe with concerted effort we could reach it much sooner. By using the Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy as a starting point we can accomplish this sooner. I would ask you to see my website http://guybeaulieu4council.ca/homelessness-solutions/ for further details.

 

Don Bonner*

  1. As a board member of the United Way and an active participant in the Affordable Housing Strategy open houses I'm very familiar with these two issues. Nanaimo has experienced a large increase in homelessness numbers as the last PIT count has shown us. In addition to those numbers the demographics are changing from Mid aged men to now include more women and families, younger men and more urban aboriginals. In addition to this we know that there are many more people on the edge of being homeless as there are not enough accommodations at an affordable rate for many people in our community which has a poverty rate close to the highest in the country.
  2. I do endorse and commit to achieving the priorities. An effective City Council will implement programs and reports that have already been done by previous councils – we already have a strategy for housing and homelessness that was created in 2008, but then filed and forgotten. We just need to continue that work and develop new strategies. We now have two new reports one Affordable Housing and Homelessness that will lead council to attack this problem head on. We need to look at ways to encourage the building of affordable housing by working with developers and builders. We need to provide more choices for consumers and developers, and to create less expensive housing opportunities through bylaws and zoning. We also need a partnership between the City and developers, where each side is providing what the other side needs. The City needs to start acquiring more land and rezoning it, following public engagement, to allow for more affordable and social housing. The City also needs to be ready on short notice to provide land for affordable, low-barrier, and/or supportive housing, when money is offered from senior levels of government.
  3. Yes, I do endorse acquiring land for building social housing. What is important is that the city/council give as many options as possible to the members of the community. We have known for a long time that housing and homelessness was going to be a problem. The city started on building social housing in 2008. That work finished in 2012 yet the city never continued acquiring property for this purpose. What should be done is that property is acquired and then a process of community consultation takes place to advice and answer questions from the community during the rezoning process. The community needs to know that this piece of property may sometime in the future be used for social housing. Then once the rezoning has taken place the residents have a choice to stay or move to another neighbourhood. Finally, these decisions are not going to be easy and not going to be well received by some. It's up to council to do the public engagement, get the reports done and, in the end, decide based on all the information in front of them what will be the best decision for our community as a whole.
  4. The action for council would be developing a plan, strategy and funding to implement the recommendations of the Homelessness in Nanaimo: Action plane 2018-2023. It will require a very good relationship with the Provincial, Federal government and Island Health to acquire the funding needed to build the social housing and provide the services necessary to help implement the recommendations. 

Tyler Brown*

  1. The housing and homelessness issues we are experiencing in Nanaimo are multifaceted with no-one-size-fits all solution. The numbers of Nanaimo residents without homes, as identified in the recent point in time homeless count, suggest that resources dedicated to addressing homelessness, affordable housing and poverty are not matching the demand for affordable and subsidized housing units. This problem is made more severe as a portion of the homeless population is suffering from mental health, addictions or other health-related issues.My understanding of addressing the housing and homelessness issues we are experiencing in Nanaimo is that we require units along the entire housing continuum. Further, resources and support are required for those with addictions, mental health or health-related issues; and poverty reduction strategies need to be put in place. All this requires a community response, with collaboration between local government, Island Health, the Province and other agencies and groups with the experience and knowledge to work towards impactful solutions.
  1. Yes, I support all ten strategies. The role the City of Nanaimo plays in supporting each of the strategies will vary. In addition, the City will need to implement solutions contained in the Affordable Housing Strategy. How best to proceed in addressing the issues of affordable housing and homelessness is best determined in consultation with those that have knowledge and experience on the matter, but Council must support the work and take a leadership role where appropriate.In my platform (www.tylerbrown2018.com) I identify potential revenue sources (MRDT Tax - not an additional tax on land owners in Nanaimo) and policy mechanisms to assist with acquiring land for affordable housing sites and securing affordable housing units as part of new development. Further, I’d advocate for the creation of a housing coordinator position to help better secure and manage affordable housing units obtained through development and provide an additional resource to the City of Nanaimo’s Social Planning Department.
  2. I am in full support of acquiring land and amending the zoning to facilitate BC Housing Investment. Council should take a leadership role on consulting with the community in advance of any funding initiative and develop and inventory of land that is ready for such development. This will ensure our City is will positioned to receive funds from the Province when they are available.
  3. Yes. Municipalities that have adopted ambitious goals often come very close to achieving them. Again, Council's role will vary depending on the initiative underway to meet that goal. Council needs to be a collaborative body that supports city staff, other agencies and groups, and other governments so we can achieve a zero homelessness goal. That will require listening to knowledgeable advice, proactively communicating with the greater community, taking a leadership role where appropriate, and empowering other people and stakeholders.

 

Brunie Brunie*

  1. There are seniors living in cars in the park, a lady that cannot walk in a wheelchair  evicted for a rent increase.  A Native lady sleeping under the overhang at the library.  Many others trying to hide themselves in bushes.  Not able to cook, cold, hungry, dirty, wet, scared.  Not able to access the food bank because of no address. Cannot vote.  Called slut lazy thief and druggie. Non-persons that no one wants to see.  I admire their survival skills and the courage to face another day.  Many are just one paycheck away from the street.  As a voice for people on the street my heart hurts.
  2. I am committed to actively ending Homelessness by allowing Canadian Refugees to live SOMEWHERE with decent  facilities, community kitchen, adequate toilets, showers , laundry and garbage collection.  Keeping the camp orderly and clean under the jurisdiction of city management.  Integrating the homeless into small camps in sturdy army tents or mobile  units would give shelter allowing people to access social services while waiting for more permanent housing.
  3. I endorse land zoned for affordable Home Projects, starting with the working poor.  Highlighting a new era of Green Sustainability with roof-top gardens, solar and new innovations for living co-operatively giving  REAL STAKE in the community.  Such projects would be an asset in the neighborhood and the pride of the city.
  4. I support a zero homeless target and the time to start is RIGHT NOW  in providing shelter for the 300 people in tent city who are cold hungry and wet.  START RIGHT NOW by opening up one of the many empty buildings for vulnerable  women living on the street.     

 

Gordon Fuller*

  1. I have been working for and with the Homelesss, Youth, Adults and Families for over 20 years. My experience runs the gamut from Runing an Emergency Shelter, Youth and adult Youth Housing, as well as a running a program for Chronically Homeless Adults and am also the Chair of a Community Meal Program. I know a fair bit about different programs and was integral in lobbying the City for both Cold Weather Shelter Beds and Rent subsidies, prior to being elected to council, as well as spearheading the move for an Affordable Housing Strategy in Nanaimo's Strategic Plan. I work from a HOUSING FIRST approach. http://homelesshub.ca/solutions/housing-accommodation-and-supports/housing-first
  2. Yes. As a City Councillor I have already made motions that have passed that will revisit bylaws and policies on Secondary Suites, increased contribution to and broader use of Nanaimo's Housing Legacy Reserve Fund and zoning and use of Micro Homes as a means of infill and affordable housing options.
  3. My priorities are towards a HOUSING FIRST Policy throughout the Housing Continuum ; housing, assessment, services steered toward. One of the last councils strategic priorities was with regards to LAND PURCHASE as well as an COMPREHENSIVE AFFORDABLE HOUSING STRATEGY. Both would help move towards the first part of your question and I support those and other means wholeheartedly. NYMBYism can only be dealt with through education/knowledge; some projects will require a higher degree of Community Consultation than others; point being adjust time for such accordingly and continue the practice of not concentrating Housing or Services. https://www.nanaimo.ca/docs/your-government/city-council/initiatives/strategicplan_2016-2019.pdf
  4. While I believe it unrealistic, the Feds are proposing $40billion to only decrease by 50% over 10 years, I support the goal of ENDING HOMELESSNESS to the best of my ability. I personally believe that with Multi Gov't support we could end it in 5 years; what I do not have faith in is the political will to do so.

 

Ben Geselbracht*

  1. We are experiencing a severe shortage in the availability of affordable housing due to sharp rises in housing prices, lack of jobs with stable income and the lack of rental units in the full range of the housing spectrum. The shortage of affordable housing coupled with the lack of supports for the increasing problems of addictions and mental health issues has left an alarming number of people without suitable housing and chronically homeless. In the Nanaimo Homelessness Coalition's point in time count over 300 people were experiencing absolute homelessness. With the current numbers at tent city, other camp locations in town, plus those living transiently, the current number of people experiencing homelessness is much higher. Fortunately, senior levels of government are willing to put money into solving this crisis and our city staff in partnership with over 20 local service agencies have developed good strategies to address these challenges.
  2. I endorse and actively commit to achieving the priorities identified in Nanaimo's Action Plan to End Homelessness and the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy. Priorities I have identified are: actions that address the immediate acute needs of our homelessness situation, increasing the capacity for co-ordination between agencies to implement strategies, and execution of all priority steps outlined in the housing strategy document to increase housing along the continuum. Important first steps in implementing the homeless plan are 1) increase co-ordination by supporting a half-time position to coordinate homelessness services through a lead agency and resource forums that support regular collaboration, 2) Identify land, buildings and resources for shelter space and temporary use permitting to ease acute need for shelter in the very short term and to develop provincially funded supportive housing, 3) more city supported communication to raise public awareness around the causes of homelessness and its solutions.
  3. I endorse buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC housing investments. A critical aspect of any successful initiative that requires a certain degree of public consent and collaboration requires a robust communications and public relations/engagement strategy. It is well known that there is considerable fear for many individuals around drug use and its associations with criminal activity. Supportive housing developments have unfortunately been associated with this fear. I would advocate for resources to be secured to develop a public communications strategy to improve acceptance of supported housing. In addition, pro-active public planning such as increased engagement and collaboration with neighborhoods and their associations in planning and locating suitable properties for the development of supportive housing is also an important activity. I believe this will increase neighborhood ownership and responsibility for the success of the
  4. I support the City in adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028. If elected, I commit to work collaboratively to leverage the necessary city resources to achieve this goal. I would support ensuring that this target is articulated in all the relevant city planning documents. In order to achieve this goal close collaboration with senior levels of government would be required and a unified civic voice to advocate and work towards changes in how we address mental health and addiction, the provision of labour opportunities and allocation of housing resources. Nanaimo's Action Plan to End Homelessness is an excellent guide to direct our initial efforts. Necessary first steps are to set up the institutional structures for sustained collaborative attention. This includes securing at least a part-time staff person to co-ordinate action and ensuring continued support for forums where all relevant stakeholders can develop a unified approach.


Pele Gouda* 

  1. The housing and homelessness issue we face here in Nanaimo is not a Nanaimo specific issue. It is happening everywhere. Social housing has been difficult to create within the broader, decades-long neoliberal context of austerity; an economic strategy that has proven time and again to be a failure. There is a silver lining to this, however. Since the new provincial government is not married to neoliberal austerity policies. If Nanaimo can get its zoning straight, we should be able to work with the provincial government to create housing solutions.
  2. I absolutely endorse and commit to the priorities identified in the Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy. These are intelligent, common-sense strategies that mark a clear shift away from the neoliberal consensus of the past. But in addition to these--specifically in addition to Strategy 4 of the 2018-2023 Action Plan to End Homelessness, 'Managing market pressures and income insecurity'--the city needs more income to lift up the folks who are struggling. I propose that we get these funds by incrementally implementing a progressive property surtax on Nanaimo's most expensive properties. This would like something like the surtax proposed by SFU economist Rhys Kesselman, but with the exact policy particulars and property brackets being decided upon after additional research is done on the Nanaimo housing market.
  3. I absolutely support rezoning efforts to facilitate BC Housing investments. Particularly I think we ought to broaden, or at least examine our CS1, community service zoning requirements. NIMBYism, like all problematic 'isms' can only be dealt with through communication, consultation, and education. One particular means might be to show them examples of NIMBY uproars of the past, and the resultant successes of those housing projects in their communities.
  4. If it can be done, then there is no reason that it can be done here! Absolutely I support the effort to end homelessness. Homelessness is not just a humanitarian disaster, it is also an economic drag on everyone. In addition to the actions that I have mentioned previous, I would consult with political scientists, 'on the ground' bureaucrats, social workers, and stakeholders of all kinds to ensure that the most effective methods are being taken to reach this important goal.


Erin Hemmens*

  1. I know that our homeless population has nearly doubled since 2016. Homelessness in our community disproportionately affects males between the ages of 25 and 44, the majority of whom have lived long term in our community. First Nations, Metis or those with Indigenous ancestry are grossly overrepresented. As a member of the City’s Community Vitality Committee, I have reviewed and recommended Council’s adoption of the Affordable Housing Strategy as well as the Action Plan to End Homelessness. I have personally visited Discontent city both in my role as a coroner as well as a private citizen. As a member of the Community Engagement Task Force, I helped organize a community session on homelessness held on July 28 2018. During that session, I learned that residents of Nanaimo are eager and willing to be an integral part of solutions for people without homes.
  2. I fully support the strategies laid out in both plans. My priorities would be to: Implement the half time position identified in the Action Plan and in consultation with the Homeless Committee and people living without homes, prioritize the remaining actions in order to ensure the most immediate impact possible.Set a council priority to create a day drop in centre, using the coordinator to identify opportunities and barriers to its implementation.Immediately request that staff identify ‘quick win’ recommendations in the affordable housing strategy and concentrate efforts on implementing those. Expedite some of the time frames for implementation where other jurisdictions have proven resources which could support our own efforts. For example, bylaws on restricting short term rentals have been passed in other communities and could be readily adapted to Nanaimo.
  3. I wholeheartedly endorse all efforts to increase the land available to facilitate BC Housing investments in our community. I also wholeheartedly believe that effective community consultation and information sharing can alleviate some of the NIMBYism we have encountered in the past. We need to ensure that when we consult, we are doing so with accurate information so as not to erode trust in the city’s process or decision making, and we need to be having these conversations with neighbourhoods in advance, rather than when we are at risk of losing potential funding. Resources exist to support these conversations, such as the report on the impact of Uplands Walk on that neighbourhood. Finally, I believe that it is the role of city councillors to sometimes make decisions which are unpopular, but which are essential for the wellbeing of the overall community.
  4. I support the City in adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028. I believe we need to look to our two newly adopted plans – the Affordable Housing Strategy and the Action Plan to End Homelessness – to guide a coordinated approach to the identification of short, medium and long term goals. We need to prioritize the implementation of strategies which address the immediate need in our community, while paying close attention to the continuum of affordable housing so that appropriate housing options exist as people transition from one level to the next. We need to prioritize land acquisition and zoning amendments which will allow us to move swiftly as provincial funding becomes available, and work with neighbourhoods so that new developments aren’t a surprise. Lastly, we need to link our policies on housing with those of transportation, to ensure that affordable housing developments are connected into services and amenities.


Peter Kent*

  1. As someone who has followed the issue-not only in Nanaimo but across the country, I am aware of the myriad challenges Nanaimo faces. I have studied the Affordable Housing Strategy and attended the final meeting at Bowen Park. I’ve also visited Tent city on several occasions to get a better understanding of living conditions and the lives affected. It is sobering. Coming from my 4 year council tenure in Squamish we have faced similar issues with 34% of our population homeless. We recently put “housing as a human right” in our OCP/zoning bylaws while creating our own Action Plan. Nanaimo’s housing crisis is brought on by a loss of rental vacancy, higher rent prices, rapid community growth, hospitality sector growth and lower incomes. This compound effect is what we are seeing today.
  2. Endorse wholeheartedly and commit! Priorities include city land purchases, donations or rezoning needed in advance, to set us up for success with senior levels of government and municipal partners to get the funding the Fed and Province are offering. That must start immediately as land use elements take time and public consultation. We must arrive at the table prepared. I come from some solid successes in Squamish. Please Google “Under one Roof” and you will see how Council there acquired $12 million dollars of funding for a supportive housing and training facility with addiction and MH services onsite. It takes strong commitment from council and community teamwork. My favourite is the CHF or Community Housing Fund with a community partner IE: United Way taking the lead with the city so that together they can deliver land and services in a truly affordable mix.
  3. To the first question please see my answer to Question 2.
    One thing people often miss is that resolving homelessness IE: housing first, shelters, supportive and transitional housing, actually reduces crime rates significantly and therefore reduces policing costs or allows you to divert those resources. It reduces recidivism in justice and health systems, thus saving money. The average annual cost of homelessness for a community is estimated at $9.5M (Affordable Housing Plan BC) This is why provincial government is focusing on this. It ultimately helps everyone’s bottom line. But it’s not just about “bottom line” it’s about compassion. To the NIMBYism point- Council must have political courage and make some oft-times difficult decisions to help lift the homeless up. Location is important to be close to services and transportation.
  4. Absolutely. Through staff and council policy in association with community partners. Actions are - to actively pursue acquisition of both city lands (thru methods described in Q1) and the funding sources available via the Federal and Provincial governments for all tiers of housing, Mental Health and Addictions services. We must be proactive in acquiring these funds and arrange ministerial meetings face-to-face in Victoria. We need to push for assistance to add to our stock of shelter beds immediately, to get people off the street. We must acquire further rental subsidies and implement ways of providing career direction through educational and work force incentives.


Rae Kornberger*

  1. I acknowledge there is a housing crisis and the characteristics of homelessness have changed in recent years. Nanaimo needs to find its own unique voice around homelessness. There are few rental units available and prices have increased. This is problematic especially for individuals with no income, those on social services, or disability, and the working poor. I have read the Nanaimo Coalition on Homelessness, Homelessness in Nanaimo 2018-2023 Action Plan, the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy, and the Nanaimo PiT Count Report 2018. I have spoken with city staff and together with their partners they are working on some initiatives. Social housing is a partnership with many agencies and governments. Currently in Nanaimo development permits are delayed for up to 6 months or more because of a shortage in staffing, affecting timelines.
  2. As a councillor I will actively commit to achieving the priorities identified. With Staff's initiatives in the works, I would like to analyse the plans before we as council take any firm action. It is important to continue what is already being done so all resources go to where there is need. The solutions will require council to work together in collaboration with social service agencies, non-profits, charities, faith based groups, and citizens, including impacted populations to ensure we develop well-rounded plans to meet the community's needs. Nanaimo has a wonderful network of advocates and working with them will enable us to develop professional services that will meet the needs of specific users. Demand for emergency and supportive housing has increased; therefore, I would like to encourage action around emergency shelter beds and transitional and graduated supportive housing. In addition, professional support for impacted individuals centres around out reach workers with high level training, life skills training, counselling support, access to transportation, public phones and internet, showers, and harm reduction services. I will work with council to find ways to implement already developed plans and support continued progress through continual investigation of promising strategies that may reduce the impacts of the housing crisis.
  3. I believe it is important to make decisions that will lead to long term good. For this reason, I support the purchase of land and re-zoning to facilitate more development through BC Housing.I believe when citizens have all the information about a project they are more likely to be content with the change that will come, so I would working with our communications department develop an open and honest outreach campaign. I would encourage strategies that supported one-to-one contact or small group presentations. Large-scale community information sessions can lead to tensions, and negative discourse. Connecting and sharing the same information in controlled discussions can build support. Coordinating a morning, afternoon, evening door-to-door campaign can reach many of the residents in the area and produce solid conversation. I believe this method of citizen participation will allay their concerns and reduce nimbyism in the future and create bonds of trust with the City.
  4. Ending homelessness in the City by 2028 is a workable target.As stated earlier I will continue to encourage council to hire necessary staff to speed up the development process. I will work with council to continue positive relationships with current partners and develop new partners because reaching this target involves collaboration. I will assist the path of council's to end homelessness by re zoning land and updating social planning bylaws to build, buying land, attracting extra revenue to put into the property acquisition reserve fund. I am pleased to say current council has endorsed the Nanaimo's Action plan to End Homelessness (2018-2023) and the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy, and according to Nanaimo city staff, projects are in the works. I am, like others, eager to hear of the partnerships developed to continue the application of the recommendations in these Plans. These are some of the many steps needed to reach this goal.

 

Gary Korpan* 

 

Zeni Maartman*

  1. I served on the Social Development Advisory Committee for eight years, where housing was one of the key priorities, especially the building of low barrier housing. A Social Development Strategy for Nanaimo was created, and at that time there was the Homelessness Community Plan for Nanaimo. These plans have contributed to the current Affordable Housing Strategy. The Nanaimo Housing Coalition worked with social agencies, all levels of government, faith groups and engaged citizens. This type of collaboration is necessary for success There is not one solution to end homelessness as the needs are varied. April when 335 people were willing to be surveyed, 80% have been in Nanaimo five years or longer. 31% of the people do have addiction issues, however the majority of homeless simply need safe rental accommodation that is within their income. I visited tent city and know that there are seniors, people with disabilities, the working poor.
  2. I commit to achieving the priorities outlined in Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy. Nanaimo’s Action Plan to End Homelessness, 2018-2023 is the result of the collective research and voices of the Nanaimo Homelessness Coalition.
    These would be the actions I would like to see taken asap.
    * Ensure there is a day drop in space – I think we need more than one to meet the needs
    * Implement a half time position to co-ordinate homelessness services.
    * Collaborating with the local indigenous community. My research has determined there are more projects on the horizon, since the Bowen Road project is completed.
    * Building supportive and low- income housing
    * Increasing rental stock (restrict short term rentals) – exploring ways to encourage development of rentals
    I believe we should work with the social agencies to identify the individual needs, determine the appropriate type of housing, and until we can build, locate a building we can utilize immediately.
  3. Yes, I endorse the approaches of either using existing land or purchasing and rezoning as required. I was on SPAC during the building of multiple low barrier locations. One of the most contentious was the location on Uplands. I support the Council of the day who had the courage to more forward. Now I hear from residents that their fears were unwarranted. We need residents that have experienced the positive results to share experiences with those that object. I lead with the principal that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. I want to work with a Council that values all persons in our City. I believe that the majority of people in our city want to do what is right. Consultation, education, listening and addressing concerns is necessary for public understanding.
  4. Yes, I would support adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028. Extensive work has been completed with the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy and Nanaimo’s Action Plan to End Homelessness 2018-2023. We must support and adhere to the action plans, ensuring follow up and measure of the goals that are set. We should look at other municipalities and implement solution that have worked in other jurisdictions rather than reinvent the wheel. When the OCP we must keep the needs of supportive and low income housing a top priority. Council, as leaders in the community, needs to help our city understand that doing the right thing, improving the lives of the most vulnerable will improve the lives for all of us. 

 

Lloyd MacIlquham*

I find these issues very complex and multifaceted and your question calling for in depth analysis that it not feasible for me to respond, and do justice, in 600 (4 X 150) words. Here are answers to the first two of your questions and they touch upon the last two:

  1. I know that it is a serious and, all too often, tragic situation that directly concerns each and every person in Nanaimo; a problem that has been experienced by virtually all Cities over a long time; a societal issue, and so, calls out for a societal solution. It involves every level of government as well as the Community. If homelessness is the result of mental illness, and to me, with my Math & Science background and many years of life experience, there is always percentage of any community that suffers from mental illness, genetics dictates this and no matter what the environment, there will always be a sector of society that is negatively impacted; or, if homelessness is due to unemployment, we must keep in mind it is not likely we will eliminate unemployment (currently nationally it is: 5.8%). So, this means there are mentally ill and there are jobless, which in turns means homelessness due to societal factors. The conclusion is, we as individuals must step up, be counted, and contribute to a solution, each according to our abilities, whether it be through contributions, volunteering, making facilities available, pursuing our elected representatives at all level, or even running to be one of those elected representatives. I have chosen the latter.
  2. It seems to me that Kathryn-Jane Hazel, July 29, 2018, Island voices: Homelessness, and the reasons it exists, (https://www.timescolonist.com/opinion/op-ed/island-voices-homelessness-and-the-reasons-it-exists-1.23382907) analyzes the issue of homelessness with a number of proposed approaches to solution, and I am sure you have read it. It includes lobbying the Federal Government, Provincial Government and City Council to "Finally, the reluctance of municipal governments to stand up to NIMBY groups when designating sites for social housing has meant missed opportunities for the construction of such housing, as we have seen in Nanaimo". It seems your paper also discusses locations (at least: Strategy 5: Supportive Housing ). It seems to me that City Council ought to stand up at take the lead, especially in issues of "not my neighbourhood". One approach, that I feel is very important, and which appears to be omitted from this newspaper article (and perhaps your paper, although I have not had the opportunity to critically analyze your report in detail and given the complexity of the issue and the seriousness I would not be in a position to so do until after the election), promoting the direct involvement of the people in Nanaimo and this, to me, is exactly what a City Council, especially one where each Councillor represents the whole community and not a sub-district, is exactly suited, and mandated, to do. And, I plan to so do, in addition lobbying the various stakeholders. Let all the people in Nanaimo decide on what area is best, and/or whether dispersion is more suited. Also, according to "B.C. & federal government sign 10-year, nearly $1B housing deal", June 26, 2018https://nanaimonewsnow.com/article/585063/bc-federal-government-sign-10-year-nearly-1b-housing-deal The Federal Government is stepping up to the plate and so too is the Provincial Government. It is now up to the City Council to ensure that Nanaimo gets it fair share and it is used accordingly, and not drop the ball. As is usually the case, it may not be enough, but it is a step ahead and one that I am confident will keep the Council occupied for a while.

Jeet Manhas*

  1. We have been experiencing the homeless issues in Nanaimo for some time now and most recently with the Homeless Camp in Downtown Nanaimo has made the community realize that there are lot more people that are homeless than our expectations. Nanaimo has received lot of media coverage with the advent of the Homeless Camp. When I was in Council previously every year there was a Homeless count planned by the City Planners to assess, how many people were living on the Street and how we can help them to find permanent homes. Every City in Canada is facing such issues as the federal funding has been cut down and Municipalities have to find ways to provide shelter to the most venerable citizens. The Homelessness in Nanaimo is also from the two environmental shifts one being low rental vacancy and second flat incomes. The housing prices in Nanaimo have increased by 14% to 20% and thus creating hike in rents.
  2. When I am elected to Council, I will certainly endorse and actively commit to finding solutions to provide shelter to the less fortunate in our Community, as we all know that healthy and vibrant communities are created when, the residents basic needs such as shelter and food are met and they feel safe. I would like to collaboratively with Provincial and Federal governments and also Aboriginal governments to come up with a plan to provide Affordable Housing for the individuals and families that need most. To make a project successful we also need the participation and consultation of the Nanaimo citizens.
  3. The city has lots of vacant lots that can be rezoned to multi-family and density zonings to facilitate Affordable Housing projects. The NIMBYism and Community push back can be overcome when we consult and ask the citizens to participate in giving their advice. There will always be a push back from the residents when they are not consulted and they feel that they are not part of the change that is occurring in their neighbourhoods. In my previous term on Council, when we planned to build the Affordable Housing on Bowen Road, we consulted with the neighbourhood there with open houses and getting their input how they would like us to move forward with it and at the same time showing them why that was the perfect place for affordable housing because of its proximity to schools, transportation and shopping.
  4. Adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028 is a lofty target but it sure is attainable. To attain this target we need the community on our side and all level of Governments including the Aboriginal Governments participation. While we know that Homelessness is just not fact of life that it is a solvable problem that we all have to do something about. We as a society understand a lot of what needs to be done to end homelessness and are adopting Strategies and taking steps in the right direction, there seems to be one hurdle that is to understand; we can't do it alone we need funding and partnership from Public, Private and Non-profit sector. We need to also consult with Communities that have had similar issues on Homelessness and have been able to overcome them with their strategic planning on working with the governments and other agencies.

 

Bill Manners*

  1. I believe that the homelessness issue in Nanaimo is not the exception, but the rule.  There are more homeless in every community across our country then there was a few years ago.  I know about the proposals for those at the risk of homeless as well as the stories of many of the homeless in our community. I have spent many years in the taxi industry in Nanaimo, engaging with a marginalized society that exists in Nanaimo.  We have a job market that offers too many minimum paying jobs with scant hours.  I know residents that work at 3 different jobs making bare wages that almost do not allow them to eat after paying rent and required expenses such as heat and telephone.  Our society requires many to double up on accommodations and some even triple up or more.  Nanaimo is not the livable city it used to be for long term residents.   Gentrification has stripped housing away from those who live on the bottom edges of poverty.  Housing units that were affordable have been bought by new residents to the city who buy the houses, fix them and either live in them or flip them.  This pushes out the former tenants who lived there and barely got by.  They have found other accommodation, surf couches or have gone homeless.
  2. I commit to working to achieve many of the goals of the Housing Strategy in my term.  I do not see Nanaimo winning the battle on homelessness without the willingness of those who are out there without homes.  We need their co-operation to help house them, which needs a multi-pronged method utilizing the many levels of government.  If we simply say, we will build housing, we will not win.   If we say we will help them become better members of society by getting them off of drugs, we will not win.  If we want to move towards better mental health facilities and not expect them to help us get there, we will not win.   Nanaimo needs those at the risk of homelessness to work together with the community to solve a problem and that is to get a roof over their heads that they will respect and move towards making life much better than it has been. Council cannot do that on their own.  It takes a village that compromises all levels of government, social agencies, and the individuals who need to start moving up in life, with a hand up and not a hand out.  I want the BC Government along with municipalities to work on a viable solution to solve the homelessness crisis.
  3. Every single time the City and the Province along with a social agency agree on a property to build shelter, the neighbours do not want it near their homes.  I live in the Dover area of Nanaimo and I fought for the housing that is now called Uplands Walk.  As a member of the most recent Good Neighbours Network compromising of the Dover Community Association, Uplands Seniors Village, Vancouver Island Regional Library, City of Nanaimo staff John Horn and the Uplands Walk management, we see value in the housing unit that so many were against.  As a team, we need to share the positives of such housing to enable more to move into housing that is there to help them when they want it.  Yes, we have the negative downtown housing unit on Selby Street that houses the more at risk individuals in Nanaimo and seems to find more ambulances and coroner traffic than any other place in Nanaimo. All areas of Nanaimo need to see one of these in their neighbourhood to help the residents of homeless housing get integrated into the community.  They are all our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles.  They are a part of the Nanaimo family and we need to cooperatively embrace them and work to better our world.
  4. I do not believe that zero is a possible end game.  There will always be those who do not want help, refuse help or do not even believe they need help.  We cannot be there for them.  We can sure offer and try our best, but without the main ingredient, themselves, we cannot solve the homelessness issue.  I will work hard to educate as many as I can.  Will you?


Darcy Olsen*

  1. Homelessness issues facing us in Nanaimo are typical of a problem facing urban centres across North America. Homelessness has been a problem for the past 3-4 decades, but has risen rapidly especially in the last 5-10 years locally. Government at all levels need to be vigilant in their responses to their local conditions and work to apply strategic solutions on an ongoing basis. Any time a municipal government takes its eyes off the problem, or fails to keep working towards resolution, the homelessness and related criminal activity, social disorder and community wellbeing are all affected. In 2008, the provincial government provided funding to build five low and medium barrier housing projects to deal with the homeless population and those at risk of homelessness. Unfortunately, the program was not followed through with. A strategy for affordable housing is essential for communities like ours where spiraling demand created through rising property values is impacting our housing prices and the availability of housing stock, especially for the marginalized.
  2. I absolutely endorse the work of the Coalition to complete the Action Plan and determine a road map for achieving success in a five-year time frame, or less. This must be a priority for this Council and future Councils. We have seen how quickly and far this problem can grow when the pressure for resolution is reduced. We have witnessed the inaction of this Council, which has brought us to this point, and we must commit as political leaders to maintain out political will and resolve. The cost to our community – in low productivity, costs of care, and lost souls, are too great to do otherwise. Make Housing First a community priority and philosophy and not just a slogan. I fully endorse the work of the Coalition and others in developing these Action Plans and would appreciate having further input to their implementation over the coming years.
  3. I support buying properties and building an inventory of land available for BC Housing projects but I believe there is a right and wrong way to do this. Not all property is suitable and sensitivities, along with physical and logistical criteria, need to be considered. In some places, it just does not make sense while health and social needs of the population need to be top of mind when selecting locations for the various types we are serving and their level of homelessness addressed. NIMBYism is best dealt with through ongoing communications and a continual consideration that homelessness does not just come and go, it is an ever-present problem.
  4. Much of the work to start us on the path to zero homelessness in 10 years has been started with the development of these two Action Plans. Elected leaders must make a commitment to the recommendations, strategies and tactics described in these Plans and make it part of their work plan over the next four years. The community needs regular reminders there are Action Plans in place that receive community investment in the form of their tax dollars. Partnerships with community organizations are key to maintaining open communications with all citizens. We need to celebrate successes along the way to provide positive news that all out hard work is leading to success for ourselves as a community, and hope to the most vulnerable among us struggling to survive.


Ken Osborn*

  1. Even when my wife and I moved here and use the Foodbank.  that's where I have meet and talked to many that have become friends, that live close to the belt.  Now employed and settled in, I still Help and support our local meal support locations. talking and getting to know many people that have educated me about the way some are treated in Nanaimo. Unsafe rentals, Slumlords, and Profiteer Landlords  that care more about the rent increase then the loyal tenant of years. Sadly, I guess. "The all might dollar comes before Humanity",  
  2. I have uploaded them to my computer and since my Computer reader program will not read it documents. I am slowly going through it all.  (having a grade 6 reading level is sometime a pain but it never stops me from doing what is right.)  We need to create a lot more Fix to Income (Sorry, LOW INCOME HOUSING,  I come from Ontario and it is referred to as Fix to Income.) to stabilize the market and create housing suitable for the needs of those that need it.  Family and low income couple,  Treatment locations for those that need REAL HELP.  Being from a different part of Canada has shown me how other city's solve these problems that seem to work.
  3. LOCATION,  LOCATION, LOCATION.  If money is available where do you build.  First off Build what???  Is it for low income families trying to survive from becoming homeless and losing their kids. OR Is it a place for those that need allot of assistance to survive.  That should be the question.  If it is to house families, then place it near schools, playground and other families.  If it for Assisting our most  miss understood Citizen,  then their homes should be close to Therapy, Doctors and Rehab location and away from school and playgrounds.  The mix is unstable and can create harm in ether parties.  SO, Pick one  that fit and lets build.  We can try to find room for more as long as the Province & Federal Governments  can help.
  4. As much as I support the ZERO Homelessness by 2028,  sadly as much as we would like, there are and will always be some that Do not wish Help and prefer to live homeless.  Just like Inmate that after years inside after release, will do a crime just to go back to where they felt comfortable.  It is their life and at the moment we can't force someone to get help. I am up for a 80% maybe 90% will be great.  We need to reshape Housing.  A Nanaimo Housing Authority,  a place that Landlord can that have rentals available (Housing Safe) as well as all the Low income housing can operate from.  Applicates can go through a screening and can be matched up to available rentals. Any Landlord that has a (Housing Safe Apartment) can list their unit to help, can get a property tax cut and people coming to Nanaimo can use it to help find a nice SAFE location in Nanaimo to call home.  In the years to come their could be whole subdivision for Low Income Housing.    I have seen it done in Kingston for Decades and still works. 

 

Alexis Petersen*
  1. Nanaimo is experiencing similar challenges to every municipality in the Province – many people living on a low or fixed income and a shortage of affordable units. We have approximately 1000 units that are subsidized and 4000 people with permanent disabilities receiving $375 per month for shelter. There are seniors with no Canada pension that receive less than $1200 per month and 1 BR apartments even in affordable housing complexes are paying $600-700 per month for rent. Much of our street homelessness problem stems from almost 20 years when no subsidized housing was built in a time of economic growth and ever-increasing housing cost. Even though in Vancouver thousands of units were built to help with the homeless population, the number of people homeless today is higher than it was 10 years ago. Nanaimo may be facing a similar future if we do not find a way to participate with the Province to develop more affordable housing.
  2. I am in full support of the Affordable Housing strategy and I believe that the community consultation process that was used should become a model for how the community approaches other community concerns. The strategy provides an excellent blueprint to help to guide the City in the development of action plans to have an impact on all aspects of housing affordability. While I generally support most of the programs and services presented in the Homeless Plan, it falls short by not making a strong statement about the need for subsidized housing. I also do not believe that the plan's proposal to end homelessness in 10 years is unrealistic and should be revisited.
  3. The City of Nanaimo has had an excellent history of supporting the development of Social Housing projects. Many of the existing social housing projects have been built on land provided by the City of Nanaimo, usually in the form of long-term leases. However, as Nanaimo has grown, the availability of vacant, appropriate Municipal land is decreasing rapidly. The city should continue to look for opportunities to make land available, continue to support the development of housing through reduced municipal costs, and continue to work to partner with Senior levels of Government to increase the number of affordable housing units available to our citizens. In regard to the issue of Nimbyism, a greatly improved communications strategy with neighbourhoods is vital to this issue. I believe that most citizens of Nanaimo would be unable to identify the many social housing complexes in the community because good housing has almost no impact on the community at large while having a critical positive impact on the tenants that live in social housing. Making use of the existing social housing providers going forward rather than politicians would go a long way to reducing NIMBY reactions. A community process on new social housing complexes similar to the one used in the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy which engaged the community in a way that ensured the active and positive engagement.
  4. As I said earlier, I do not believe this target is achievable. Because of the time involved in developing social housing for every 1 unit developed, 2 more people become homeless. Communities across Canada (except possibly Red Deer, Alberta) every political promise to end homelessness has failed. Of course, the City of Nanaimo needs to work diligently to try to assist the ongoing development of more social and affordable housing and reducing the numbers of homeless and reducing the impact of homelessness on the community needs to remain a high priority.


Wendy Pratt*

  1. Homelessness and lack of affordable housing is far reaching from the homeless to the working poor to VIU students to isolated seniors/singles . Many factors have impacted access to housing including: government closure of institution that housed vulnerable populations; VIU students impact access to affordable inventory; the working poor face wide disparity between income and affordable rents; individuals accessing the $375 housing subsidy (approx 4,000) have limited options (1,000 available units); and the homeless face a complete lack of supportive housing. The Nanaimo Affordable Housing society will double housing (+200) for singles/seniors by 2020; their inventory is increasing in other areas. In speaking with the Hon. Shane Simpson he stated there will be announcements this fall to address housing/poverty. In attending the event at VIU on September 25th I gained new insight into the student housing crisis and its impact.
  2. Yes I do and agree with all the goals/objectives. I don’t know how we can leave anyone out. I care about this issue and am committed to finding solutions. We must build on past successes to address all facets of affordable housing. We have some wonderful models built since 2014 including the new “community” model opened by Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre on Bowen; Uplands Walk; Dufferin/Boundary; Sanala (former King Arthurs Court). People not only need housing, they need community. We missed out on 40 government funded modular units of supportive housing. The new council must work with staff to get us “shovel ready” and approach the government again for funding. Society has ignored this situation for far too long. Families with one or two hard working parents have a right to affordable safe housing; everyone who wants to be housed should be. Densification in existing neighbourhoods should be instituted across the spectrum. Partnerships are essential.
  3. Short, medium and long term solutions are necessary. Denisification and rezoning (eg. CS1) should be considered to allow for new models that address the need. Our city has lost a great deal of staff expertise and infrastructure in just 2 years; I believe that contributed to our inability to respond appropriately to the 40 modular units for supportive housing of the homeless being offered last December. That must not …..cannot… happen again. We must make sure the city is prepared for the next round of funding. NIMBYism can be addressed through effective community consultation and education. Our partners, including Nanaimo Affordable Housing, as well as those who have experienced success as a result of access to adequate safe housing, should, where possible, be recruited tell their story and help answer questions. When council recognizes they are dealing with a polarizing issue they must be prepared to respond to assumptions and fears of neighbourhoods. Be prepared!
  4. Yes! It will take a strong commitment from council and strong partnerships both from government and the community. We must think globally and act locally.The NAC build on Bowen Road not only created a self-contained community but it’s affordable and “green”. This passive housing model is the gold standard required for all new builds in Germany. NAC took a page from their book and created something beautiful, functional, and supportive for singles, elders, and families. Sanala is another. Initially NAC got no “buy-in” from council for King Arthur’s Court. Instead, they partnered with BC Housing to create Sanala. They upgraded living conditions and developed a much safer and inclusive community. Future plans include donated city land adjacent to Sanala and a new build that will greatly increase capacity and will hopefully fill the niche where families for larger families. These are the kind of innovative projects we need. 


Michael Ribicic*

  1. Nanaimo’s homelessness population has raised significantly in a short period of time. Towards four-hundred individuals are chronically homeless in Nanaimo and there are many more who, for lack of better term, couch surf and are borderline homeless. The issue of homelessness within our city has often been ignored, not just by our municipal government, but by all levels of government. As a result, Nanaimo now has a tent city. The affordable housing crisis which has impacted Nanaimo strongly, has not helped the issue. No matter where one goes, homelessness is evident throughout our city. As it is right now, Nanaimo does not have the social housing projects and resources needed to meet the needs of the homelessness issue.
  2. I do proudly endorse the City of Nanaimo’s Affordable Housing Strategy and the Homeless Plan. I am committed to working towards the goals that are outlined within these documents. The main priority for me would be, as mentioned in the Affordable Housing Strategy, foster collaborative partnerships. We need to strengthen our relationships with the provincial and federal government so we can work together towards achieving more affordable and social housing units for our community. We also need to work closely with non-profits and Snuneymuxw. Through some of the committees I have served on, I feel confident that I have the skills required to be an effective lobbyist and relationship builder.
  3. I do support these actions, but I would look at city owned and crown owned land, do proper consultations, then allocate the land towards a social housing or affordable housing project paid for by BC Housing. For affordable housing, I find there not to be much pushback as long as people understand what it means, but for any kind of social housing, there is often significant pushback. We need to make sure that proper consultations are held and do so with whomever our partners on the project may be. We need to show the community’s past successes and explain the wide scoop to them and how this would be a positive move forward for our city as a whole.
  4. I would support the city in adopting this goal. We need to be progressive before the issue gets too out of hand. Again, I along with council, would work on restoring all of our relationships with other levels of government, advocate for more housing projects, advocate for services such as counselling, resume making and rehab from the province and the federal government. Support the city’s Affordable Housing Strategy along with the Homeless Plan and also work with the city’s upcoming poverty reduction plan to help work towards this goal and to prevent the numbers from increasing.


Noah Routley*

  1. I think that is due to multiple factors in Canada. Here in Nanaimo we are experiencing lower vacancy rates, increasing homelessness and addiction caused by the fentanyl crisis, lower standards of living caused by factors such as increased single parent income earners, stagnant wages, and in general an increased cost of living. Unfortunately, the provincial, federal and local governments of the past have not focused on increasing their resources to match the increasing demand for such vital services or by governments implementing best practices in dealing with this growing need. We need increases in Mental Health  and Addiction Services, we need to support the growth of non-profit, Co-op or subsidized housing. This is the time to broaden our  local Social Services that would reduce the harm of homelessness and housing issues being further exasperated in the Nanaimo area. Having worked in social services, mental health and addictions for over 20 years, I have seen the consequences of not adopting best practices at all levels of government and it is time for a change in policy and also in the implementation of long-term housing strategies against homelessness strategies and also to assist in the growing housing demands for families, single parent families as well as those who are marginalised. 
  2. Yes, I think it is very important that local governments and other forms of government collectively respond to this crisis. It is time to look at creating sustainability of our local housing. We need to look closer at local trends and implement many changes along with our provincial government.  Sound science and outcome studies in Progressive cities and countries around the world have shown that adding community and Social Services resources actually lower the cost of emergency and Correctional Services within that region. Beyond this, I believe that it is now the responsibility of municipalities to impact this much needed change. I would also advocate for the implementation of progressive housing first initiatives and also for us to stop the old attitude of not in my backyard and take some responsibility at a local level.
  3. Yes,  buying land or using existing land holdings and zoning appropriately for BC housing investments to take effect for those marginalized within our local population are exactly the types of progressive policy changes I would love to implement and also to be a part of. We need to also implement a strategy for community education and also to combat misinformation in regards to a nimba like attitude that can occur within certain regions.  I believe that the city should assist in local mentorship and in educational sessions.  It is very important for all voters to be heard from  on their beliefs but it is also the role of councils to implement best practices, when and where that information is available.  It is important also to assist neighborhood  associations in education and also in the  sharing of information and dialogue in regards to outcomes and to hear from each other on outcomes as well, as previous expertise and experiences as well as outcomes will assist with the overall educational process. 
  4. Yes. I believe governments need to start looking at long-term solutions to such issues as homelessness, affordable housing and social services in order to help those who are marginalized. I would support initiatives that would use existing properties, purchasing opportunities, rezoning practices as well as opportunities to support provincial government initiatives on these vital resources for our community. I also believe it is very important  to hear from  professionals  in the field and in the community as well as in the nonprofit sector on best practices, new or emerging projects for housing or social services that are needed in the community moving forwards, as together, we can accomish more as an entire community. I think it is time now for progress and also for long-term thinking. There are many cities within the world who consider the housing first model to be the lightning rod for allowing its community members to not just survive, but to thrive.  

 

Norm Smith*

 

Rick Smith*

  1. We live in the best climate and location in Canada. Generally, homeless folks move west, and so Vancouver Island is about as far west as we get. Homelessness is not a simple problem. There are at least 4 different groups of people lumped together as "the homeless". There will need to be at least 4 different solutions if we are to have success in solving the problem.
  2. My priorities are simple: Nobody should profit from criminal activity. The current camp must go. We should have a local plan for local people. Visitors from elsewhere should be sent home. Anything else is unaffordable. If we build 1000 affordable homes, 1001 people will turn up to claim them. The taxpayers deserve better than that. All campers should be assessed and sorted into mental health, skill shortage, genuine need, and philosophy differences. If you are free, you should be free to march to your own drum. We do not owe anyone a free living. Able bodied persons should work in some way if they expect the benefits of membership in society.
  3. I agree. But only for local people. We already have a lot of freeloaders at our dinner table. NIMBYism is a reaction to fear. Address the fears, which are legitimate, and they will dissipate. Knowledge and good experience will overcome the problem.
  4. We will probably never eliminate this problem in our lifetime, but we can do so much more than we have so far. I will happily support a realistic target of having a homeless population of under 100 people, a figure that we can manage.

 

Fred Stratham*

  1. What I know about the housing and homeless issues we are experiencing in Nanaimo is that this Affordable Housing Crisis has plagued Nanaimo for the past 15 years. It essentially started in 1997 when The Federal Government cut The Co -Operative Housing Grants to The Provinces and Territories. The Province of BC could only cover the lack of funding for 5 years before The Working Poor of Nanaimo became homeless. For the past 10 years, the crisis has hit the middle class citizens of Nanaimo very hard.
  2. I fully endorse and actively commit to achieving the priorities identified in the attached Homeless Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy in my term. We need to get modular/supportive housing. We need to enact a bylaw to allow Secondary Suites and Coaches. We need to build more Co- operative/Social Housing Projects and we need to allow agencies like Habitat for Humanity to build houses in Nanaimo.
  3. I approve of Municipalities(Nanaimo) that are buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. How I would push back against NIMBYISM is to keep the lines of communication open with the citizens opposed to projects facilitated by BC Housing Investments. By keeping the lines of communication open, we are able to create awareness/educate the citizens of Nanaimo opposed to these very important projects.
  4. Yes, of course, I support the city in adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028. The actions that I would undertake and support would be : support the expansion of Samaritan House and The New Hope Centre. Have The Unitarian Shelter operate ALL YEAR. Continue to fight for funds and projects from the provincial and federal government. Next year is crucial in attaining the funds and projects Nanaimo needs because the federal government, after 22 years of NOT FUNDING the provinces and territories is going to restart funding the provinces and territories! The provincial government will want to build on the momentum they started this year via providing modular/supportive housing.

 

Viraat Balakrishna Thammanna*

  1. Yes I know the present situation of homeless people living in the tent city and also those living out off their cars. For those living in tent city, last week the supreme court issued an order to vacate that premises occupied illegally. I came to know that City of Nanaimo is working towards providing temporary accommodation but not revealing how and when.
  2. Yes, I endorse and actively commit if elected to council in what ever capacity I can (sorry could not read attached 3 booklets due to short of time). What ever the Affordable Housing Strategy may be, it is city council moral responsibility to join hands with federal and or provincial government efficient plans to eradicate homelessness. I like to encourage city council and administration staff to clear files efficiently as fast as possible for the project approvals (building permits). Invite and encourage investments to develop the land and build condominiums, townhouse and apartments so that shortage of housing can be met. Provide what ever reasonable assistance possible towards achieving the goal.
  3. Yes, I will endorse along with the team. NIMBYism is not appreciated nor allowed. As we all citizen has right to live in community as equal to any one else. Yes, there will be resistance by shrouding neighbors, but in large governing body has the responsibility to make necessary arrangements before going ahead with what seems right in accordance with law of the land.
  4. Yes, I will support City in this issue. My action would be constantly propose and follow up this agenda with concerned authorities including federal and provincial government as this is not only city issue, it is also issue of the province and country to eradicate homelessness and shortage of housing/accommodation. 

 

Al Thompson*


 Ian Thorpe*

  1. As a current City Councillor I am well aware of the housing and homelessness issues we are currently facing in Nanaimo.  I have heard the Point in Time figures, and of course Discontent City is a constant topic of discussion.  I have attended workshops on Nanaimo’s Affordable Housing Strategy, and have read Nanaimo’s Action Plan to End Homelessness.  Housing and homelessness are major issues across the country right now, and certainly here in our city.
  2. Yes, I definitely endorse the priorities identified in the Action Plan to End Homelessness and the City of Nanaimo’s Affordable Housing Strategy.  Priorities in the term ahead would be to focus on the objectives as identified, and ensure that policy direction is in place to achieve short and longer term goals.  We need to increase the supply of rental housing by expanding the secondary suite policy and updating policy on coach houses.  There needs to be planning to density and diversify single detached neighbourhood.  Density bonusing is a useful tool, and our developers’ community contribution policy should be examined.  Partnerships are crucial, such as with B.C. Housing and with organizations that the City supports such as Habitat For Humanity.
  3. I support the idea of buying land and applying necessary zoning to tackle the affordable housing issue.  Nanaimo certainly needs to increase its land acquisition reserve fund, and ensure that housing needs are included in that long-term planning.  Zoning can be amended to facilitate rental stock, carriage houses, mini-houses, and subsidized housing units.  We need to work with B.C. Housing to address the entire spectrum of housing needs.  The keys to dealing with community pushback are 1) communication and 2) education.  I think that most citizens are sympathetic to the need for affordable housing, but they need to feel consulted and confident that their neighbourhood will not be negatively affected.  Our supportive housing success stories at the north end (Uplands Walk) and the hospital area can be pointed to and used to allay fears.
  4. I support the goal of zero homelessness by 2028 because I think it is a necessary and worthwhile goal.  However, the goal will only be achieved if we keep it as a priority in the years ahead.  It must be a constant consideration in future community planning, and the implementation strategies as outlined in the Housing Strategy and the Action Plan must be considered in all planning.  Council must be on board with this, and work with community partners and other levels of government to keep it front and centre as an important part of the Social Equity pillar of our Strategic Plan.


Jim Turley*

  1. The housing and homeless challenges we are facing seem to fall into three categories; the working poor; those with mental health issues and finally those with addiction issues.  There would appear to have to be three different  solutions involved.
  2. Having only just printed these documents I cannot endorse all of the information until I have read and thought about it.  However some of the suggestions I have heard mentioned I fully support.  One being the cash in lieu of parks in subdivisions where there is already a park in close proximity.  The cash should be used to purchase suitable properties to be supplied to Habitat for Humanity for development of multi family facilities.  When these are inhabited by the family purchasers it would free up some rental properties for those who do not fit with Habitats criteria.  Another possibility is where variances are required for development and assuming there is no risk in applying the variance, they would be granted assuming there would be some affordable housing included in the development. Follow-up comments on the Strategy: I went through the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy this morning and am in full support of most of it.  I am having trouble supporting 4 items and would like to see another one added. The items I am having trouble with are as follows:
    * From page 25, using some of the Hotel tax to subsidize affordable housing.
    * from page 25 a tax exemption on properties developed for affordable housing.  It would make more sense to have them exempt for a specific time not indefinitely.
    * from page 29  Seek legal council regarding compensation for displaced tenants.  I would think this is a provincial issue from the tenancy act.
    * From page 33 regarding a pet policy.  I could support this if the policy included a limit as to the number of pets so no property owner would end up like I did with a tenant that had 12 cats that totally destroyed all the carpets in the home and we had to us gallons of bleach to clean the basement concrete floor.  A single pet would not do that kind of damage. * The other issue of concern to some landlords is the issue of grow-ops which hopefully will become a thing of the past.  Years ago the provincial government ruled that the landlord was also responsible for the clean up and cost associated with a grow op.  The challenge is that the landlord must make an appointment with the tenant to do an inspection.  All the tenant has to do if they have a grow op is to not be home when for the appointment which makes it null and void.  We need to pressure the provincial government to make the recovery of costs from the landlord void if he/she can show that they made documented attempts to do an inspection.
  3. Yes I agree with this approach and recommend that we be proactive rather than reactive regarding the neighbours.  Each piece of property obtained for BC housing investments must include a document which indicates the requirements for occupancy.  Those projects with less saleable requirements should be purchased in areas of little or no residential properties.  If these recommendations can be sold to neighbours in advance the concerns should be reduced.
  4. I would like to see it happen before that date but any target date is good as long as there is flexibility built in. 


Avel Turnip / Conrad Peach (slate party)

  1. I know that it has been an ever increasing problem that has been growing in Nanaimo for several years. I know that this city does not have enough resources or supports to sustain its ever growing population and it is something that needs to be urgently addressed. Complicated by the increasing mental health and addictions needs in our city.
  2. I have read over “The Affordable Housing Strategy” and “Action Plan” and I can say that I do support it and the priorities in it. I feel that it does mostly cover the basis of the urgent problem in our city and it is certainly a starting point for rectifying the situation to bring our city back to a healthy and manageable ratio of homelessness vs. supports.
  3. I also support the endorsement of these investments by our city as it is necessary for families and individuals in transition to have these options of housing. Addressing Nimbyism requires community education and involvement in initiatives in affordable housing ensuring safety measures and promotion of healthy and supportive life choices, and how these initiatives can be beneficial to the residents in the proposed communities. Showing residents of the community that having these housing initiatives is in their community’s best interest to support them and how.
  4. I absolutely will support the City in adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028, however I do understand that this may not be a realistic goal as homelessness is and always will be an ongoing challenge for every city and that eliminating it entirely may not be feasible. For we cannot eliminate individual choice, but reducing the volume of homeless people is definitely an achievable goal for our city to bring it back into a manageable ratio for our City to manage with ample resources and supports in place to help support these individuals; giving people back their choice of life.


Peter Urquhart* 

  1. The housing and homelessness issues we’re experiencing affect a large amount of people and are very concerning to me. Along with the hundreds of people experiencing absolute homelessness, we also have a large population living in the invisible homeless category. We also must consider the many people that are only one paycheck away from being homeless, and others with disabling factors that make them vulnerable to becoming homeless including physical and mental illness and substance abuse. Our official homeless count has increased by 91% since 2016 and we have reached a crisis state. We are not doing enough as a city to make progress on this, and it is negatively affecting the entire city as a result.
  2. I endorse and actively commit to the priorities set out in the Homeless Action Plan and Affordable Housing Strategy. I consider these to be most important priorities in the current time frame in regards to homelessness:
    *  Increase the supply of supportive housing by provisioning land and advocating strongly for provincial and federal funding.
    *  Increase the amount of available shelter beds and outreach to help those in need of services by advocating for and supporting service delivery partners with their needs.
    *  Support the creation of a day space to reduce street involvement and provide a conduit to assistive services.
    *  Continue rental supplement assistance while housing affordability is addressed.
    *  Apply supports to centralize coordination services and assist with cross agency case management. Connect agencies and cases through leveraging of the federal HIFIS software.
    *  I go into more detail about homelessness and priorities set out in the Affordable Housing Strategy in my platform at https://www.peterurquhart.ca/platform 
  3. Municipalities who are effectively moving the dial on housing and homelessness are buying land and zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. Do you endorse these activities/approaches by our City? If so, how would you deal with NIMBYism and community push back, while implementing the array of housing our community requires? We are in a serious housing crisis and cannot afford to lose out on opportunities to grow our housing supply. We must leverage provincial/federal funding wherever possible and it's reasonable for us to provide land and adjust zoning in order to accomplish this. Pushback can be reduced through substantial educational efforts and adopting a proactive approach towards consultation. We need to educate and encourage our communities to become part of the solution and actively involve them in the process prior to decision making. I am committed to advocating for community engagements in each neighbourhood of our city to consult upon different locations for varying levels of supportive housing. In the end, some decisions made will not please everyone. However, as leaders we must do what is best for the city and the entire community and that means difficult decisions need to be made at times
  4. Yes, I am in support of that goal. However, to clarify my support - it’s about reaching a functional zero - an absolute zero can raise an unrealistic expectation, of no-one ever experiencing homeless again. I believe in the functional zero - achieving a point where there are enough services, homes and shelter for those who need them, and that anyone who faces absolute homelessness only does so briefly. The Capital Regional District has made significant progress on the issue of homelessness and are projected to reach a functional zero in 2021, so there is no reason to think we cannot achieve the same by 2028. We have a very beautiful city that makes me proud, and I believe the success of a community is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable. I’m committed to helping make our community even stronger and better, for everyone.


Trent Whaley*

  1. Homelessness and precarious housing is rampant throughout Nanaimo, not just in tent city but also in parks, driveways, and couches. It is driven not just by the opiod crisis - other very significant factors include stagnant PWD rates and housing allowances, part time precarious work and decades of development of almost exclusively freehold and condominium properties with little purpose built rentals and no co-operatives.
  2. Yes. I will strongly advocate for the city leasing parcels of 1 Port Drive, 1425 Cranberry Ave, and other already city owned properties slated to be subdivided to the Co-operative housing Federation of BC, BC Housing, and/or nonprofits building housing, shelter, and other services.
    • I support the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre and Indigenous Peoples Place of Culture as the provider of culturally appropriate programming for off-reserve indigenous residents and also will advocate for the inclusion of drastically more culturally diverse programming, including both indigenous led local traditional and modern indigenous culture in city facilities and the activity guide.
    • I will encourage better co-operation on every file with all of the communities of our region, including other municipalities, villages in the electoral areas, and First Nations governments. 
    • I will also strongly advocate for better public education through Parks & Recreation facilities, including courses on how to be a good landlord (including proper insurance to mitigate risks of having a higher risk tenant).
    • I will strongly advocate for mixed use development in core and corridor zones and improvements in walking and cycling infrastructure including secure bike storage with charge facilities so we can house more residents with less space devoted to parking.
    • I will encourage work towards creating a rent bank and/or low-barrier financial service provider to prevent more residents from sliding into homelessness or continuously paying an increasing proportion of their income to high-fee financial service providers.
  3. Yes, but we already own the land we need. In some cases we may do parcel swaps for much larger parcels if appropriate. Nanaimo can achieve the same effect without a lot of additional spending, and more quickly.The best antidote to NIMBYism is thorough honest communication. Homeless and precariously housed residents are everywhere in our city; addictions and mental health issues are everywhere. Show residents what facilities already exist in the city that they did not know about - they are here already. Show residents stats on existing methadone treatment in Nanaimo - it is everywhere, not just where people think street people live.
  4. Yes. I will strongly advocate for the city leasing parcels of 1 Port Drive, 1425 Cranberry Ave, and other already city owned properties slated to be subdivided to the Co-operative housing Federation of BC, BC Housing, and/or nonprofits building housing, shelter, and other services. I will strongly advocate for better co-operation with other levels of government and agencies and NOT turn down provincial or federal funding or housing spaces. I will strongly advocate for co-operation with VIHA on both harm reduction and treatment.
 

Ashley Zboyovsky*

  1. I  know that the housing and homelessness issues we are experiencing  are two of Nanaimo’s biggest issues currently. I know that the number is seemingly increasing and that a lot of people are under the assumption nothing is being done. I don’t feel that way at all. I find there to be a lot of foundations here in Nanaimo doing their best to support people in those situations with very little means to run their foundations, so I want to say thank goodness for all the wonderful people who volunteer their time to these foundations. You guys need more support ! what you are doing is not easy and I want to extend gratefulness to you all for loving this community so much to donate items, money and personal time to help support this serious issue.
  2. I  know that the housing and homelessness issues we are experiencing  are two of Nanaimo’s biggest issues currently. I know that the number is seemingly increasing and that a lot of people are under the assumption nothing is being done. I don’t feel that way at all. I find there to be a lot of foundations here in Nanaimo doing their best to support people in those situations with very little means to run their foundations, so I want to say thank goodness for all the wonderful people who volunteer their time to these foundations. You guys need more support ! what you are doing is not easy and I want to extend gratefulness to you all for loving this community so much to donate items, money and personal time to help support this serious issue.
  3. I do support these approaches by our city ! I think the city should support all its citizens, especially the ones who lost themselves somewhere down the way or the ones we seem deemed “unfit” just because of their living situations. How would I deal with the push back ? By simply advocating : since when did the term “ community “ leave out a specific group of people ? We are a community and it would be my hopes that in the next 4 years with a new council that we could bring this community together, supporting each other.
  4. I absolutely support the City adopting a target of zero homelessness by 2028. My vison on this topic would be to evaluate all the abounded schools and spaces around town for safety. Buildings that already have showers, individual rooms and gyms for eating halls. Turing these buildings into support homes for those living on the streets and in return they carry out jobs created by our city so that way they are contributing to taking care of community as well. Jobs such as vandalism clean up, litter & parks maintenance and so on. It would also be my hope to create programs to make available to them for support, such as counselling, mental health and addictions programs and working programs. From there the next step would be supporting them in finding a job and affordable living and have them living their own, independent, lives out in the community.



Nanaimo Coalition to End Homlessness Members

  • AIDS Vancouver Island
  • BC Housing
  • Canadian Mental Health-Mid Island
  • Citizen/Lived Experience
  • City of Nanaimo
  • First Unitarian Fellowship
  • Haven Society
  • Island Crisis Care Society
  • Island Health
  • Member at-large
  • Mid-Island Metis Nation
  • Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation
  • Nanaimo 7-10 Club
  • Nanaimo and Area Resource Services for Families
  • Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce
  • Nanaimo Citizen Advocacy
  • Nanaimo Region John Howard
  • Nanaimo Women's Centre
  • Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools
  • Nanaimo Youth Services Association
  • Pacifica Housing
  • People for a Healthy Community Gabriola
  • RCMP
  • Salvation Army
  • Service Canada
  • The Men's Centre
  • Tillicum Lelum
  • Vancouver Island Mental Health Society
  • Widsten Property Management
 

Media Sponsors

Special thanks to the local media sponsors of the 2018 Nanaimo Municipal Election Candidates' Forum. 


My name is Ray Farmere and I believe that homelessness is  
Just a state and it can be overcome.
Many individuals believe that homelessness is just 
Nothing more than a permanent fixture that is part of modern day Society. This 
could not be further from the truth. Homelessness is caused by a variety of 
different factors it is mostly the resultant of different factors. Most of these 
factors point to a lack of socioeconomic resources. Unfortunately, homelessness 
Can strike at any time to anyone. Although many of us would like to believe 
That’s our emergency savings accounts would cover any emergency. This is not 
Simply the case. Many Canadian citizens live paycheck-to-paycheck, where a 
Sudden, job loss or critical illness could cause any one of our citizens to be 
threatened homelessness. How many believe that the struggle of the homeless is 
something that is Unser mountable this is clearly not the case. Homelessness    
does not discriminate. It could happen to your daughter, your son or a long time 
friend that you've known for years. Homelessness even happens to people who have 
retired. Sometimes our bodies don't always weather the storm the way we wanted 
to. Life circumstances happen and no matter how well we can prepare for the 
future there are always unforeseen circumstances that we never calculate into 
our overall budget. Regardless of the reason of what causes homelessness, there 
is only one way to overcome it. That's way is through positive thinking and 
resourcefulness. The struggle to return from homelessness increases due to a 
variety of different factors. Some of these factors may include addiction 
issues, mental health issues and employment issues. We had homelessness into 
that equation, these issues seem insurmountable. I believe that everyone 
deserves a place to rest your head at night. A place in which they can call 
home.  i will make overcoming homelessness easier by ensuring that every region 
of the city has resources. This includes medical facilities, food banks and 
low-cost thrift stores.
Since I know that's the struggle homelessness is difficult, I want to bring the resources that 
they needs to overcome homelessness to their doorstep. I also want to increase our tourism 
industry by allowing a free markets on the streets where people who are lower 
income would easily be able to creates items for sale giving them a chance at 
earning additional income for a lower cost.
 
2) Do you endorse and actively commit to achieving the priorities identified in the Homeless Plan and 
Affordable Housing Strategy in your term? Provide details on your priorities and how you would achieve them.
If elected mayor I strongly endorse and will actively submit to the identified priorities in the homeless plan.
My first action would be with support of council and if possible building owners to put together an immediate 
action plan which will help to get a roof over peoples heads temporarily. I will sit down with our MP right off 
the bat look at what we need to do to get this plan moving.
3) Municipalities that are effectively moving the dial on housing and homelessness are buying land and
 zoning appropriately for projects to facilitate BC Housing investments. 
Do you endorse these activities/approaches by the City of Nanaimo? If so, 
how would you deal with NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard-ism) and community push back, 
while implementing the array of housing and solutions our community requires?
I do appreciate and endorse these activities. My first action would be for myself and 
councill to sit down with the group leaders and hear what they would be able to do for us 
to make the project effective. Then I would like to take a survey to the people of Nanaimo 
and see what they would like done. Once I have all the data we can start to form an action plan.

4) Will you support the City of Nanaimo in adopting a target of zero homelessness 
by 2028, and if so what actions will you undertake and support to reach this target?
One action I would perform would be to create not for profit organization that builds and
administrates housing for the homeless.

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