The New Samaritan Place will offer 51 supportive housing units as well as 14 shorter term “bridge to housing” beds for women and 1 unit for a family. Building on the legacy of ICCS’s flagship program, Samaritan House, this new program will offer even more people “room for hope”.
It is with great pleasure that we announce the culmination of a collective effort started five years ago, in 2017, when the More Room for Hope campaign was launched. Each of you has, in some way, been a part of this great project, and we hope that each of you will share in the great joy we now have as the program is launched!
As you know, Island Crisis Care Society (ICCS) established Samaritan House as its flagship program more than 30 years ago, providing a safe, warm, tolerant shelter environment for women in crisis. Samaritan House was characterised by emotional support, nourishment and connection to community resources and programs. Built on principles of care before judgement, Samaritan House provided a much-needed haven of stability for women entering its doors in crisis and changed many lives in the process.
After a call to expand Samaritan House starting in 2017, the “More Room for Hope” campaign began to raise support and action for a bigger, better space for more women and men in crisis. From that time until now, we have been thrilled with the heartfelt community response to this issue. Your support, and that of many others, has led to a valuable inflow of resources towards this important project.
In 2020, this effort took a grand leap ahead with a commitment from BC Housing and support from the City of Nanaimo and partners to create a new “Samaritan House” to give space for more women and men in crisis – even more “room for hope” than we had initially imagined. The Government of B.C., through BC Housing, has provided approximately $13.6 million in capital funding through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund for the building and will provide $1.4 million in annual operating funding. These homes are part of the commitment between the Government of B.C. and the City of Nanaimo to build over 300 new supportive and affordable homes in the community.
Ground breaking on the new location happened in early 2021, with construction following and just last week on 18 March, 2022 the official opening was celebrated. Clients will start to move into the new building starting on March 22.
The four-story building features 51 studio suites for people experiencing homelessness in the community. In addition to the studio supportive housing units, one floor features seven units with two beds each that will be available exclusively to vulnerable women — an enhanced shelter space for women which will follow a new “Bridge to Housing” approach which is similar to how we have operated Samaritan House, supporting the most vulnerable women on their own journey to stable and healthy living. ICCS will manage the building, providing residents with 24/7 wraparound support services including meals, laundry services and access to mental health and wellness supports through Island Health. A large kitchen, dining room, and a separate community amenity space are all part of the new building.
Christened “Samaritan Place” to honour the legacy of the original Samaritan House, this new program will offer new hope for people who have been in crisis, shelter and care for more people in need, and a step towards a more hopeful future.
Thank you for being a part of this incredible effort to make change. All of the donations gathered as a part of the More Room for Hope campaign will contribute to making Samaritan Place not just a building, but a home, be it short or longer term, for the people who cross its threshold.
Now there really is More Room for Hope!
(photo: Doug Wortley)