Nanaimo council to hear recommendations from health and housing task force

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Nanaimo city council will be presented with a Health and Housing Action Plan this month. It comes from a decision in 2019 to have a task force address the health and housing crisis in the community.

The city said the task force has spent the past year working on the plan and has specific recommendations on how to improve the coordination of resources for vulnerable members of the community and identify where more resources are needed.

The task force was comprised of Snuneymuxw First Nation, Island Health, BC Housing, Nanaimo Chamber of commerce along with a number of not-for-profits.

The action plan shows fewer resources will be needed to keep pace with demand if they are used more effectively to meet health and housing needs, according to a news release form the city.

“However, it is recognized that this would be contingent on the willingness and ability of the various organizations working in Nanaimo to shift resources, change the ways they work, and to overall better coordinate to achieve collective priorities,” reads the release.

The plan recommends the establishment of a Funders’ Table, with an aim of securing the $65.5 million needed to meet Nanaimo’s health and housing needs over the next five years. 

Key funding partners could include Island Health, BC Housing and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. These organizations have the appropriate mandates to support this work and the action plan will equip the Funders’ Table to be more effective in demonstrating needs and advocating for additional investment in Nanaimo, according to the city.

“Council will review and discuss the findings of the Health and Housing Action Plan at an upcoming Governance and Priorities Committee meeting as well as a council meeting,” said Don Bonner, co-chair of the Health and Housing Task Force. “One thing is for certain, all of our hearts are in the right place and we want to see a solution that works for Nanaimo.”

The plan also recommends the creation of a Health and Housing Governance Board to oversee the implementation of the plan

“The proposed action plan shows that through enhanced collaboration, integration and restructuring of existing health and housing services and supports, there could be a significant positive impact on the number of vulnerable community members who could be served adequately using both existing and future resource investments,” said Coun. Erin Hemmens, co-chair of the Health and Housing Task Force.

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