World Homeless Day highlights the importance of supportive housing

Housing with supports is key to recovery for many people living with mental health or addictions issues. This is one of the main messages that CMHA Champlain East is sharing with the community to mark World Homeless Day this October 10.

Evidence indicates that having a place to call home means a better quality of life and success in education and work. And housing with appropriate supports is shown to improve outcomes from even severe mental health and addictions problems.

CMHA supports the ‘Housing First’ model, a person-centred approach that provides immediate access to permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness, without requiring psychiatric treatment or sobriety as determinants of ‘housing readiness.’ Research on this approach shows that it reduces hospitalization and increases housing stability significantly more than treatment alone.

In partnership with other stakeholders, CMHAs continues its efforts to promote the need for housing in general and supportive housing in particular for people with lived experience of mental illness. CMHAs have called for increased investments in housing, as well as the need to reduce barriers to housing as one way to reduce the overall costs to health care, police and justice, and social services sectors.

According to a 2016 report on homelessness, at least 235,000 people experience homelessness in a year across Canada and nearly 35,000 are homeless every night. And a 2018 report on youth homelessness also shows more than 6,000 Canadian youth are homeless on any given night.