New landmark research findings were released today by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) that underscore the clear effectiveness of the ‘Housing First’ approach to ending homelessness amongst people with mental illness. The research was released at an event that featured the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development) and Canada’s mental health leaders.
"At Home/Chez Soi shows us that this approach works in Canada. A house is so much more than a roof over one’s head. It represents dignity, security, and, above all, hope," said Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. "We are proud to collaborate with our valued partners to lead this work. These kinds of bold solutions are the hallmark of our mandate."
“Providing permanent, secure housing,” she added, “does more than keep a person off the streets and out of shelters, it provides a base from which to move forward. It creates hope where none existed. That’s the import of Housing First.”
At Home/Chez Soiwas created in 2008 thanks to a $110 million investment from the Government of Canada. Demonstration sites included Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montréal, and Moncton, and involved more than 2,000 Canadians with mental illness experiencing homelessness. Key findings from the study include:
- Demonstrated housing stability for program participants in all regions of the country over a two-year period;
- Program effectiveness for people from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds and circumstances;
- For highest service users, Housing First has proven particularly cost-effective with every $10 invested resulting in cost-savings of $21.72.
This headline is golden. Let’s hope the recommendations get taken up by government!