Nanaimo Branch

Early in 2011 we began working with members of the Victoria Human Exchange to bring safe, affordable, drug and alcohol free housing to Nanaimo. Victoria has been providing this type of housing for over 21 years, they were very happy to assist us to get started here.

In the beginning Leanne Salter approached the Victoria based Society, then invited us to work with her in bring the concept to Nanaimo. Although Leanne has since moved on, we continue to work. We began with Esther’s House and with the generous donation of $10,000 from the Sister of St Ann, plus generous donations from within the community and a lot of hard work, we have managed to keep Esthers House full and found it was so successful that we had a waiting list and needed a 2nd  house.  Thanks to the generous donation of storage space from U Lock we were able to gather together donations of furniture and household items while we looked for a 2nd property.

We needed a large place but we also needed a landlord that was open to negotiation as we could not afford a high rent. Then we met Jason, the owner of the house.  Not only was he open to negotiation but he also provided most of the furnishings in the house. Jason has worked with us to make this possible. While this side houses 6, within a week or so we take over the rest of the house, which is a 1 bedroom suite where our facilitator will live. We are naming the house Mary Gordon House. Mary was a co-founder of VHES who passed into spirit in 2011.

The men that reside in our houses must be 90 days clean and sober. They may be coming from a treatment facility, incarceration, broken homes or a hospital. They may be unemployed or under employed. Regardless of where they come from the rules are the same. The residents pay rent, buy their own food and care for the home and grounds. They work together in a family like environment to support each other in their sobriety. The length of stay depends on the individual. Some may only need a few months, others may be much longer. So long as they are working on themselves and growing, attending meeting and maintain their sobriety they can stay. We also provide a room on a nightly basis for men that may need 1 or 2 nights as they travel from north island to south for medical treatment or something along those lines. Space permitting of course.

A lot of our current residents are now students. They are working to improve their lives having more skills and better tools to build a better life. Some are working, but still need the support of their peers to maintain their sobriety. When the residents are ready to move on we try to provide them with a little bit of furniture to help them make the transition a little easier.

The Sisters of St Ann generously provided another $10,000 from their Esther’s Dream Foundation, to assist us with our cause. We certainly could not do this without them.

Esther’s House (for men) -was named after the foundress of the Sisters of St Ann. It closed at it’s present address when owner sold the property.
Mary Gordon House (for men also) began Dec. 1st 2013 and is full and successful to this day.

The Society is non-profit and we depend totally on donations and volunteers to make this happen. All the Board members and volunteers  work full time so it makes time a little tight. We are always looking for more volunteers. So if you have time to spare please let us know.