Based primarily on the experiences of the At Home/Chez Soi project, the Housing First toolkit offers practical, user-friendly tools and tips to help communities develop, implement, and evaluate Housing First programs. Access it here.
People in Canada with serious mental illnesses are often disproportionately homeless or precariously housed, and many cannot access the housing and supports they need. With the security of a home, it’s possible to address mental health problems and mental illnesses and profoundly change lives.
While housing improves health, mental health and well-being, housing alone is not the complete solution: having access to individualized services and supports is vital to one’s recovery and housing stability.
Addressing homelessness for people living with mental health problems and illnesses is a complex issue and requires cooperation across health, housing, criminal justice, and social service sectors.
The Mental Health Strategy for Canada recognizes the importance of safe, affordable housing, and addressing homelessness for people in Canada with serious mental illnesses. To better understand these issues, the MHCC assessed housing and related support needs of those living with mental health problems and illnesses who are inadequately housed, released in the report, Turning the Key: Assessing Housing and Related Supports for Persons Living with Mental Health Problems and Illness.
The MHCC also le d the renowned At Home/Chez Soi project which explored the effectiveness of the Housing First approach. Building on the growing interest in Housing First across the country, the MHCC offered a Housing First Training and Technical Assistance program that provided training and support to over 2500 individuals and over 39 communities who were implementing Housing First. We reached thousands more through the Housing First toolkit that provides a guide to planning, implementing, and sustaining Housing First programs.
The MHCC is working with government, communities, and organizations to promote strong Housing First implementation and recovery-oriented mental health services in Canada. This includes the MHCC’s involvement in exploring the potential of social finance to help fund needed housing and programs.
Housing is vital to recovery, and MHCC research has demonstrated that Housing First not only works, but is cost-effective and can be implemented and sustained over the long-term. With access to affordable housing, people with mental health problems and illnesses who experienced homelessness can maintain housing with recovery-oriented supports, achieve housing stability, and see improvements in their quality of life
The Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) created a number of resources to examine the importance of safe, affordable housing, and addressing homelessness for Canadians with serious mental illness. Click on the links below for more information.