OTTAWA, April 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development) took part today in the official launch of the final report on the At Home/Chez Soi project, which demonstrates that the Housing First approach rapidly reduces homelessness while alleviating pressure on shelter, health, police and judicial services.
The Government of Canada has invested $110 million over five years (2008–2013) in the Mental Health Commission of Canada's At Home/Chez Soi project, the most comprehensive study of homelessness ever undertaken. Over the course of the two-year study, an average of 73 percent of participants in the Housing First group remained in stable housing, compared to 32 percent for the group receiving usual care. Additionally, for participants who were the highest users of emergency and social services when they entered the study, every $10 invested led to an average savings to government of $21.72.
Through Economic Action Plan 2013, the Government of Canada committed nearly $600 million over five years to renew the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) using a Housing First approach. Implementation of the Housing First approach began on April 1, 2014.
- Traditional approaches to reducing homelessness rely heavily on short-term emergency, crisis-based responses.
- The Housing First approach helps stabilize the lives of homeless people for the long term by first moving them into permanent housing and then providing additional support for underlying issues, such as addiction and mental health. The ultimate goal is to assist people in becoming self-sufficient, fully participating members of society.
- Since the launch of the HPS in April 2007, nearly 25,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefitted from education and training opportunities; over 27,000 have received help to find work; and more than 4,800 new shelter beds have been created.
"Canada led the way with the At Home/Chez Soi project, the largest study of its kind. We now have strong evidence that Housing First is an effective way to reduce homelessness. I am proud to celebrate this achievement along with our partners at the Mental Health Commission of Canada as we officially launch the Housing First approach in Canada."
– The Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development)
"The value of having a home is hard to quantify, but that is exactly what the Mental Health Commission of Canada has done with our ground-breaking At Home/Chez Soi project. We have taken on this complex issue with both vision and leadership. Bold solutions like this one are the hallmark of our mandate and the Government of Canada is right to feel incredibly proud of its investment."
– Louise Bradley, President and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada
"The national implementation of Housing First will house thousands of Canada's most vulnerable homeless people. It also has the potential to transform the way Canada responds to homelessness. It's a great start."
– Tim Richter, President and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.
Homelessness Partnering Strategy
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS) is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities across Canada.
The Housing First approach recognizes that housing stability is an important first step in addressing homelessness. It is also necessary for the success of other interventions such as education and training, developing life skills and managing mental health issues.
Housing First involves giving people who are homeless first a place to live, and then the necessary supports (e.g. for mental illness) to help them stabilize their lives and recover as well as possible.
The availability of safe, stable housing and related supports is important in addressing homelessness and helping individuals who are homeless achieve greater self-sufficiency and a better quality of life.
The HPS provides structures and supports that help people who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness to achieve self-sufficiency and participate fully in society. This model seeks to address homelessness by working in partnership with the provinces and territories and other federal departments, as well as with communities and the private and not-for-profit sectors.
For more information on the HPS and Housing First, visit esdc.gc.ca/homelessness.
SOURCE: Employment and Social Development Canada
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