Community Profile: Free Shower Program

Popular Free Shower Program at Caledonia Park extends hours


Caledonia Park.jpgThe Free Shower Program at Caledonia Park (110 Wall St.) now serves even more people. Managed by the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter on behalf of the City of Nanaimo, the program began in 2018. Open year-round, this program offers hot showers, washrooms, toiletries and clean towels for everyone who needs it.

The social and economic cost of COVID-19 has resulted in even more vulnerable people in our community, which has led to a huge increase in the number of people accessing this service. With increased funding from the City of Nanaimo and support from BC Housing, the Free Shower Program now has extended hours; 7am – 12 noon, Monday to Friday.

Human dignity

“Hygiene is an important part of self-care and health, particularly during a pandemic. It’s something many people take for granted—having access to a warm shower and toiletries. It’s a key piece of human dignity and we are grateful we’re able to offer this service for people who need it,” says Isha Matous-Gibbs, Executive Director of Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter.

Prior to COVID-19, the program was averaging 80 showers per month. But this past May, they provided 548 showers – serving up to 35 people in a day. 

“We’re seeing many new faces. People are also visiting on an ongoing basis – which tells us the program is successful. It’s a place where people feel welcome and safe,” says Matous-Gibbs.

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