Nanaimo looks at providing showers for city’s homeless

City council voted to have staff report on options

The Harbour City will look into possibility of providing its homeless population with a place to shower.

Nanaimo city councillors voted unanimously in favour of having city staff examine the viability of providing shower facilities for the homeless during a council meeting on Dec. 18. Councillors also agreed to have staff look at finding community partners who could help organize or operate a shower area.

The idea to look into providing shower space for the city’s homeless population was brought forward by Coun. Gord Fuller, who had originally made a motion that requested staff to examine options for a mobile shower unit. He told councillors on Dec. 18 that having a proper place to shower can go a long way for a homeless person.

“If you’re homeless and you’re trying to find a place to live, it helps if you go there clean and not dirty,” he said. “If you’re homeless and you’re looking for part-time work or full-time work, any type of work, even casual work … being clean is extremely helpful in finding … gainful employment.”

During the meeting there was some discussion about whether staff should examine just a mobile shower option or expand their research to include all options, such as existing city-owned facilities.

Coun. Diane Brennan said she would prefer to see city staff research the cost of providing showers in general, not a mobile shower unit.

“We may find that mobile showers are not the best method,” she said. “We don’t know that. We might find out that it is hands down the best thing that we could do but we don’t know that.

Coun. Jim Kipp said there are city-owned buildings that have showers in them that are not being used on a regular basis year-round, pointing to Caledonia Park as one example.

“That field is hardly used Monday through Friday…” he said. “It would only take some volunteers and some cleanup to have that place ready.”

Staff are expected to provide a report to council sometime in the new year.


nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

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