The Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter provides emergency shelter to adults ages 19 and over. 

We are open 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., 7 days a week.

To check if we have a bed available call 250-754-3720 or come see us after 6 p.m. at 595 Townsite Road

The Nanaimo Free Shower program continues to operate normal hours: 7:30 a.m. until 12 noon Monday to Friday at Caledonia Park, 110 Wall Street. We are behind the bleachers. Last shower starts at 11:30 a.m.

Outreach continues to serve people who need help with getting ID, applying for social assistance, looking for housing, getting medical attention, or other needs.  Contact Carole at

Since 2008, men and women have found overnight respite from the streets, a hot meal, clean clothes, and a non-judgemental welcome and the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter. Open seven nights a week year round from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., the shelter is funded through the BC Housing, and by generous cash and in kind donations from members of the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo and individuals, businesses and organizations in our community – and beyond.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Contact: 250-754-3720

“The Unitarian Shelter is the most welcoming place I have ever stayed.  I feel really uncomfortable a lot of places, but they don’t ask invasive questions, they just accept everyone for who they are and welcome us”

– Guest

Free Shower Program

On behalf of the City of Nanaimo, we run a free shower program to anyone experiencing homelessness or unstable housing.  Toiletries (soap, shampoo, clean towel and facecloth etc.) are provided for free. You can also enjoy a hot chocolate while waiting. 

*Due to Covid-19 safety precautions, we are letting fewer people into a shower at a time and doing more cleaning in between.  This means there can be a wait for a shower. Please come with your patience.

Hours: 7 a.m. to 12 noon. Last shower starts at 11:30 a.m.


Starting in January 2020, with a seed grant from the Nanaimo Foundation, we have begun a program to provide an outreach worker for shelter guests. Our outreach worker is available to support guests of the shelter and people using the free shower program.  She can assist with a range of needs including:

  • Income Assistance
  • Housing applications
  • Help accessing medical persons
  • Addictions and mental health services referrals and applications

Carole is reachable by phone at 250-616-0554

*Due to Covid-19 precautions, how this service is delivered has changed. Please contact Carole to arrange a safe and accessible meeting spot which allows for social distancing and good hygiene protocols.


If you would like to support our efforts working with people experiencing homelessness in our community, contact us for information on making a cash donation, or providing clothing or other materials and supplies to help ensure our guests are warm and comfortable during their stay with us. Thank you!

Clothing, blankets, jackets, socks, and other in-kind donations can be dropped off by appointment at our shelter.  Please call the office a 250-754-3720 to arrange.

Donate to the Shelter via e-transfer

We have set up the Unitarian Shelter bank account to automatically deposit e-transfers sent to, making this the most efficient way for us to receive donations at this time.

To send a donation, please follow these steps

  • Log-in to your personal online banking account. Check with your bank or credit union if you are unsure how to do this.
  • Select “Pay Bills & Transfer Funds” (or the equivalent.)
  • Select “Interact e-Transfer” and the amount you wish to donate.
  • The name on the account is “Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter” .
  • For contact method, choose “Email”, and the email address is
  • There is no need for a security question as the donation is auto-deposited.
  • If we don’t have your contact information on file, please add your name and address to the “Message” field so we can send you a tax receipt. Tax receipts are sent out once per year in February.
  • That’s it.

Or you may send cheques made out to Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter to:

Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter
1-595 Townsite Road
Nanaimo, BC, V9S 1K9

Attention: Lise

We are a registered Charity and generally issue tax receipts annually.  If you would like one issued at the time of donation, please contact Lise at: 250-755-1215.

Contact Us

…..Shelter phone250-754-3720
Shelter Coordinator
Executive Director
Outreach Worker
Carole van

Address: 595 Townsite Road, Nanaimo BC V9S 1K9

Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter

Our Funders

Shelter Upgrades for COVID-19 protection and extension of the Outreach Program funded by United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island and the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.

Our Partners