An expansion to Samaritan House is desperately needed.

For over twenty-eight years, Island Crisis Care society has provided care and shelter to Nanaimo’s most vulnerable women through Samaritan House. Unfortunately, the number of women experiencing homelessness in Nanaimo is increasing. We have to regularly turn away women in need of support due to lack of space.

2016/2017 Samaritan House Stats

% Occupancy Rate


Unique Clients


Beds Used

Homelessness numbers are rising.

There were approximately 525 people without a home on one day in Nanaimo in 2016.



Absolute Homeless Individuals


Hidden Homeless Individuals

Absolute Homeless generally refers to individuals who are living on the street or in emergency shelters.

People experiencing absolute homelessness can be either sheltered or unsheltered. Unsheltered homeless include people who are sleeping in places unfit for human habitation such as streets, alleys, parks and other public locations, transit stations, abandoned buildings, vehicles, ravines and other outdoor locations where people experiencing homelessness are known to sleep. Sheltered homeless includes people sleeping in emergency shelters (general and specific to men, women, youth, etc.), extreme weather shelters, Violence Against Women (VAW) shelters, and transitional housing. It may also include people who receive hotel/motel vouchers in lieu of shelter beds.

Hidden Homeless, or “provisionally accommodated individuals”, do not have long term housing and instead secure nightly accommodation in motels, rooming houses, hostels, motor homes, or other people’s private residences as a guest. Also called “concealed homelessness,” these individual are sleeping in places that are fit for human habitation but with a short or highly uncertain time limit.

Without expanding Samaritan House, 30% of women who are absolutely homeless cannot be housed on any given night.

Investing in Samaritan House helps so many.

“It would be difficult for me to find women who care more. I am grateful to the nth degree for these services.”

Samaritan House Client

“I just wanted to say how much I appreciate all your help and that I would never of gone anywhere else.”

Samaritan House Client

“I did not feel judged or discriminated against for my need to stay here at all!”

Samaritan House Client

“I finally feel like I have a place I can call home.”

Samaritan House Client

“…I couldn’t have gotten through homelessness without your help. I am sober, happy and grateful.”

Samaritan House Client

“I pray this house continues to grow and recognize just how precious and needful your caring is.”

Samaritan House Client

“Without Samaritan House, I’d be dead or on the streets.”

Samaritan House Client

“Thank you again for saving me from myself and saving my life.”

Samaritan House Client

More Room for Hope Campaign

We purchased the empty lot beside Samaritan House on Nicol Street. We plan to combine the two properties and build a three-storey addition to the existing building. We need your help to raise $2,000,000.

Samaritan House is bursting at the seams.

Operating from a 100-year-old residential house, Samaritan House provides 20 beds to women in crisis. With the rising rate of women accessing the program, we have simply run out of space.


Here are the resulting challenges we are facing:

Mental Health

Mental illness is becoming more prevalent and violence is increasing. As the number of women in the shelter increase, effective management of mental illness is becoming more of a problem.

Medical Needs

Older women and women with more serious medical conditions are a higher percentage of clients than 10 years ago. Medical needs occupy more and more support worker’s time.

Emotional Regulation

Overcrowding severely impacts emotional regulation both for clients and staff.



Personal development and relationship support remain largely beyond the scope of Samaritan House primarily due to lack of space.


Bed Availability

We regularly turn women away from accessing Samaritan House due to lack of beds.


At the moment, there is no private space for clients to privately meet with health workers.



Due to its age, Samaritan House is highly inaccessible for people with disabilities.


Samaritan House

A soft place to land, a safe place to grow.

Our staff at Samaritan House are dedicated to creating a safe, warm, welcoming environment and to providing emotional support and empathy at an extremely vulnerable time for the women that come to our doors.

Emergency Shelter (14 beds)

Low-Barrier Access

Neither sobriety nor mental health stability are required to receive services. Clients are generally only restricted from access if they become violent or abusive. Clients experiencing a mental health crisis are referred to the hospital or an Island Health outreach team.

Essentials of Life

Bed, bedding, meals, access to showers, hygiene supplies, and clothing are provided.

Professional Support

On-site case management, referrals to community resources and programs. Shelter staff work with health authority outreach workers and nurses to encourage clients to recover from physical, emotional, and psychological setbacks.

Martha’s Place (6 beds, Supportive Recovery)

Supportive Recovery

Defined by BC Housing as “housing for residents who cannot live independently and who are not expected to become fully self-sufficient. There is no limit on the length of stay. This form of housing provides ongoing supports under a Housing First model. It allows people the opportunity to achieve a level of health and stability without the fear of homelessness.”

Low-Barrier Access

Neither sobriety nor mental health stability are required to receive services. Clients are generally only restricted from access if they become violent or abusive. Clients experiencing a mental health crisis are referred to the hospital or an Island Health outreach team.

Private Accommodation

Units are private, secure rooms with access to shared washroom facilities.


Evening meals are included.

Professional Support

Clients have access to support workers, outreach workers, and case management.

Imagine what we could do with double the space!


Bedrooms that could be used for shelter or supportive housing.

Access to Services

Meeting rooms that would allow health workers to meet privately with clients.


Environmental design that would increase safety and improve community.


Added space that would include better storage to organize supplies, materials and resources.

Planned Spaces

Planned spaces that would reduce crowding and increase support.

Staff Well-Being

A staff room that would give employees a break from the high paced life inside this busy front line facility.

The improved shelter will do more than provide warmth in the winter, a place to sleep, and a place to eat; it will also influence the people who live and work there with its functionality and aesthetics.


When you change the space, so much more changes.


Coming soon with your help!

Help us provide More Room for Hope.