Complex-care services planned for housing in Nanaimo

Press Release

Aug. 25, 2022

NANAIMO – People in Nanaimo living with complex mental-health and substance-use challenges, and are at risk of homelessness, will benefit when the Province adds 30 complex-care housing spaces to serve the community.

Complex-care housing provides supports to people who are facing mental-health and substance-use issues, trauma or brain injuries. They are often at risk of homelessness or eviction.

Through Budget 2022, government is investing $164 million during the next three years to provide complex-care housing to as many as 500 people throughout British Columbia.

“Complex-care housing is a groundbreaking approach for people with overlapping mental-health and substance-use challenges,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “This new approach to care will connect people in Nanaimo with the services they need right in their homes to help establish stability, connection and break the cycle of homelessness.”

Complex-care housing will be delivered in Nanaimo by Island Health in partnership with BC Housing and local service providers. Complex-care housing teams will support residents in existing supportive housing who require additional support to maintain their homes.

“People deserve a home where they feel safe with the health-care supports they need,” said Leah Hollins, chair of the board of directors, Island Health. “We are grateful for our partnership with the provincial government, BC Housing and housing operators to provide enhanced supports that will address the needs of this vulnerable population to help improve health and wellness and establish stability, connection and break the cycle of homelessness.”

Complex-care housing is voluntary. Services follow the client, so if they move, the services will move with them. These services may include:

  • access to addiction medicine;
  • overdose prevention and education;
  • psychiatric services;
  • primary care services;
  • social workers;
  • occupational therapy; and
  • Indigenous Knowledge Keepers and traditional supports.

The Province launched complex-care housing in January 2022, with services announced in Abbotsford, Bella Coola, Fraser East, Kamloops, Kelowna, Langley, Powell River, the Northern Health region, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria. Since the launch, the Province has announced 355 complex-care spaces in communities throughout the province. Complex-care housing services in Nanaimo will come online gradually, serving as many as 30 people by 2025.


Adam Walker, MLA, Parksville-Qualicum –

“Our government is working hard to meet the needs of British Columbians experiencing complex mental-health and substance-use challenges. Supports like complex-care housing are built in collaboration with communities, local First Nations and health authorities working together to create services that are tailored to the people accessing support. I look forward to watching this program grow into other communities, bringing more support and services to people across the Province.”

Doug Routley, MLA, Nanaimo-North Cowichan –

“Complex-care housing is a new model that will offer life-saving supports to people living with complex mental-health and substance-use challenges. I’m proud that our government is bringing this support to Nanaimo, which will be life-changing for those who are unable to live independently, and who need higher levels of support than what is currently available in other housing models. Ensuring that people with complex needs can access stable housing and the supports they need will make a positive difference for our entire community.”

Shayne Ramsay, CEO, BC Housing –

“Complex care is an important part of the housing continuum. We continue to listen and learn from residents and front-line staff who say that some people require more health services than what is currently provided in supportive housing. With its enhanced health services, complex care will address this important need and connect people with the mental-health and addictions resources that can save lives.”

Leonard Krog, mayor, Nanaimo –

“Smaller complex-care housing in our own community is exactly what our citizens want, and council is thrilled to welcome these spaces to our city. Our ongoing street disorder can seem overwhelming sometimes, but this is the kind of response we need to improve the quality of life for all of us here in Nanaimo. We have real challenges and this is an important part of the solution.”

Learn More:

Learn more about complex-care housing:

Mental Health Supports:

A Pathway to Hope Roadmap:


Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions
Media Relations
250 882-9054


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