Holiday sacrifice to help the homeless in Cowichan

Thirty-eight unsheltered Cowichan-area residents will find themselves with heat, a roof, greater privacy and improved security this winter season. 

And thanks to the holiday-sacrifice of some local builders, that is happening sooner rather than later. 

Workers at Nexus Modular Solutions decided to come into work over the winter holidays to get a jump on this important cabin project. In partnership with the Cowichan Housing Association and funded by United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island and the Government of Canada’s Reaching Home: Canada's Homelessness Strategy, the builders are making eight-by-eight, heated cabin shelters to help homeless individuals in the Cowichan Area over the winter. 

The first set of 12 cabin shelters were delivered Jan. 8th and 11th, with builders working on another 26. 

United Way visited the Nexus warehouse in Chemainus to see how progress was going on the cabins. We spoke with production supervisor Garry Kamikawaji and got a sense of the thought put into the design of the cabins. 

“[The cabins have] in-wall heating,” he explained. “Everything is all to a switch that is connected to the light out front. So if anything goes wrong with the power, that light will go off, and signal to the caretaker – the person on site – that something is wrong, and it can be addressed instantly.” 

Of the project, Garry said, “It’s something that I wake up and am glad to be here for. It’s very empowering, being able to help out the less-fortunate.” 

While these cabin shelters represent an important improvement in the lives of homeless residents in the Cowichan area, United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island knows that they are not a solution. Our neighbours need homes. 

But while we keep working to make that a reality, these cabins are helping people right now. 

When you choose to support United Way, you make impactful projects like this possible. If you can, please consider donating today.