SHOW Board Member Feature: Sam Nabi

We are pleased to introduce you to Sam Nabi, a member of the Strategic Planning Committee in SHOW’s Board of Directors. We took the time to do a Q&A with him so you can learn more about Sam, his role on the Board, and his take on affordable housing.

Q: What is your role in the committee you are in on the SHOW board?

A: As a member of the strategic planning committee, it’s my role to take a look at the big picture: what supports and housing options are available to people in our community? How has that changed since SHOW began over a decade ago? And how do we prepare ourselves to best serve the community for the next 10 years?

In the strategic planning committee, we try to learn from as many sources as possible: other agencies who provide supports and housing, government funding programs, and the experiences of supportive housing in other cities

Q: How long have you been on the SHOW Board?

A: I have served on the board since 2019, and before that I helped advise the housing committee as we sought city planning approvals for building Mike’s Place at 402 Erb St. E.

Q: What inspired you to join the SHOW community?

A: SHOW is an inspiring organization because of how it focuses on long-term stability for tenants. When someone is able to live in our building for as long as they need, this is a secure foundation upon which they can improve other areas of their life. Another value that SHOW upholds is harm reduction. When faced with societal crises like the overdose epidemic, the harm reduction approach tries to support people where they are at and improve health outcomes, rather than pushing the risk of harm somewhere else. This is all part of supporting people as full human beings.

Q: Why is access to affordable housing important to you?

A: For me, housing is a human right. For too long, housing has been portrayed as an economic investment. But the greatest value of a property is when it can provide a safe and secure place to call home. The twin pressures of real estate speculation and restrictive zoning make it difficult to build more affordable and supportive housing for those who need it. We are seeing this pressure for people of all incomes right now, and supportive housing is needed more than ever.

Q: Can you share a moment or story that highlights the impact of the work SHOW is doing in the community?

A: I was pleased to talk with some of the residents at the former Civitan building, at 144 Erb St E. SHOW purchased that property in 2020 and when I was speaking with the residents there, they were so happy to hear that SHOW would be keeping the building as affordable housing. One resident works at the nearby grocery store, and doesn’t own a car. She was grateful to live in an affordable place in a convenient neighbourhood, and SHOW is helping preserve that accessibility in a rapidly growing city.

Q: Is there anything you would like to say or share with our community of volunteers and donors?

A: I am so inspired by the staff and volunteers who support our residents every day. They build community and meet people where they are at, and that’s the approach we need to create more inclusive neighbourhoods. Our generous donors understand this mindset, too: thank you to all who have contributed to SHOW with your time or money, and affirming that our neighbourhoods can be a supportive environment for everyone.