Unitarian Shelter renovations are now complete

After three months and close to $300,000 spent, the renovations at the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter are complete.

The shelter will celebrate its re-opening and the transfer of operations to the Nanaimo Family Life Association at an Open House Saturday, July 13, from 10:30 to 11:30 am.


We will also dedicate a newly-built accessible washroom and healthcare room to Sophia, the 23-year-old shelter worker who died in November of last year. Her mother will attend the naming ceremony.


The First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo launched a fundraising campaign in December for the renovations needed to bring the shelter into compliance with the BC Building and BC Fire Codes.


The renovations also include new flooring, insulation between floors, an air exchange unit as well as the addition of the accessible washroom with a shower and space for healthcare teams to assist shelter guests.


“We are extremely grateful to the hundreds of people who donated and to the community businesses and organizations that contributed,” says outgoing shelter Executive Director Paul Manly.


“In addition to donations from 160 individuals including through 100+ Women Who Care Mid Island, we received funding from Coastal Community Credit Union, Rotary Club of Nanaimo, the Nanaimo Foundation, the Tom Harris Community Foundation, BC Housing and the federal Reaching Home program through the United Way of BC.


“This renovation project would not have been possible without community support, including the work of project manager Darren Moss, the team at Tectonica Management and all of the sub-trades which went above and beyond to get the work done on time and on budget.”


Says Nanaimo Family Life Association Executive Director Deborah Hollins, “The Unitarians have done a fantastic job of operating this shelter for the past 15 years, and have built strong neighbourhood support for the shelter. We plan to continue that legacy.”


“We are extremely confident in the ability of NFLA to manage the shelter,” says Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo board chair Don Gayton. “Their programs will enhance shelter operations and help shelter guests stabilize their lives and find housing and support.”