History of the Ballenas Housing Society
In April 1990, a group of concerned community members met to discuss the lack of decent, affordable rental accommodation for families in Nanaimo. As a result of this meeting, the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society (NAHS) was formed and soon after received registered charity status.
The Society plays an active role in many issues relating to housing by consulting and lobbying various levels of government, participating in public forums, and liaising with other community groups.
In 1995, the Society received funding to develop a community housing directory and by 1996 had built its first housing complex for low-income families. Subsequent years saw the development of many more affordable housing complexes including two apartment buildings for single adults with disabilities in partnership with Island Health, townhomes for independent low-income single adults, and a 24/7 supported housing project in partnership with Vancouver Island Mental Health Society and Haven Society.
From 2015 to 2018, the Society acquired 82 patio homes, a 71-unit apartment building, five 3-storey walk-ups for low-income seniors and 25 family townhomes for low-income residents from three local housing societies.
In March 2019, the Board and Society Leadership team developed a 5-year strategic plan which involved expanding rental units with both new and existing properties. In 2022, the Society completed a new apartment building at its Buttertubs property which added 159 new units for low-income seniors in the community. While designed for independent residents, this unique complex offers an optional meals program.
In 2022, the Society was renamed Ballenas Housing Society (Ballenas) to better reflect expansion into other areas of Vancouver Island.
In 2023 two new developments, located in North Nanaimo and Parksville, will add 53 and 87 units respectively for low to moderate income residents in the Regional District.