What we learned from At Home/Chez Soi is that Housing First rapidly ends homelessness for people experiencing mental illness, and can be effectively implemented in cities of different size and different cultural contexts. At Home/Chez Soi also proved that Housing First is a sound investment, with every $10 invested in Housing First services resulting in an average savings of $9.60 for participants with high needs and $3.42 for participants with moderate needs.
Meeting objectives, conducting research, sharing findings
The story of At Home/Chez Soi would not be complete without including the voices of those who were involved in At Home/Chez Soi; the participants, the service providers, the peers. This included a unique partnership between the National Film Board of Canada and the MHCC, with the creation of a video documentary called ‘Here At Home’, which shares individual stories and thoughts from participants and project staff. As well, At Home/Chez Soi’s National Consumer Panel, a national advisory committee involving people with lived experience of homelessness and/or mental illness, provided a national perspective on behalf of people with such lived experience and developed a Discussion Paper on Stigma and Discrimination to offer insights into peer engagement.
Since At Home/Chez Soi ended, the work has continued. To support the growing demand and interest in Housing First, the MHCC released the Housing First Toolkit (2014) which built on the expertise developed through At Home/Chez Soi along with other Housing First Providers As well, the MHCC developed the Housing First Training and Technical Assistance program which provided hands-on support to 18 communities for 2 years.
There has been significant policy change and uptake since the end of At Home/Chez Soi, but there was also a recognition that the work wasn’t done. As a result the At Home/Chez Soi researchers, embarked on new research to look at what happened since At Home/Chez Soi ended. These sustainability reports, will be released over the coming months, beginning with the National, Cross-site and Moncton reports which give us a better understanding about key factors of success to sustain and adapt Housing First programs over the long-term.