Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi Interim Report reveals promising ways to help Canada’s homeless living with mental illness

Report confirms Housing First approach works

Calgary, Sept. 21, 2012 – The At Home/Chez Soi Interim Report released today by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) reveals new information about what kinds of interventions are proven to help homeless people living with a mental illness in Canada.

“We are proud to share these early and significant results from this groundbreaking research,” says MHCC President and CEO Louise Bradley. “The purpose of this project is to find what works and what doesn’t when it comes to organizing services and supports for people with mental illness who experience homelessness; and to share these results so that governments and Canadian communities can effectively tackle this growing social and health issue.”

The Interim Report outlines findings from the MHCC’s At Home/Chez Soi project, a five-city research study on homelessness and mental illness. The project is based on the innovative Housing First approach, which quickly provides people with a place to live in the community and then tailors other services and supports to meet individual needs and choices so as to maximize their chances of recovery.

“This report begins to answer important questions of interest to many parties about why and how Housing First should be implemented more widely across Canada,” says Paula Goering, RN, PhD, Lead Researcher on the At Home/Chez Soi project and Affiliate Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

The Interim Report provides significant evidence about the impact of Housing First in addressing homelessness for people with mental illness as well as information about the cost consequences of serving specific populations. The evidence shows that:

  • Housing First improves the lives of those who are homeless and have a mental illness
  • Housing First makes better use of public dollars, especially for those who are high service users
  • Housing First can be implemented across Canada
  • A cross ministry approach that combines health, housing, social services with non profit and private sector partners is required to solve chronic homelessness
  • Solving chronic homelessness can create dramatic improvements for Canadian communities

“This research gives both individual Canadians and communities across our country struggling with homelessness new evidence and real hope for an effective and cost-saving alternative to what currently is a tragic status quo,” saysTim Richter, President and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

Early Findings Report Vol. 3

The release of the At Home/Chez Soi Interim Report coincides with the release of the At Home/Chez Soi Early Findings Report Vol. 3 which focuses on qualitative research results and implementation findings. It reveals some interesting results about the effects of the interventions on the lives of project participants in the areas of:

  • Social and family relationships
  • Control over personal lives
  • Disruptions due to illness
  • Contributions to community
  • Educational opportunities

At Home/Chez Soi Research Project at a Glance

  • In 2008, the Federal Government invested $110 million for a five year demonstration project aimed at providing evidence about what services and systems best help people experiencing serious mental illness and homelessness.
  • The At Home/Chez Soi project was officially launched in 2009 in Moncton, Montréal, Toronto, Winnipeg, andVancouver.
  • Close to one thousand homeless people with a mental illness from those five Canadian cities have been provided with housing and services as a result of this project.
  • The MHCC’s Mental Health Strategy for Canada and Turning the Key Report both include recommendations to increase housing supports and expand the Housing First approach.
  • At Home/Chez Soi is sharing its knowledge with other countries. As a result, France has launched a similar housing first project.
  • The National Film Board of Canada partnered with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to produce a web documentary on the research project. Visit “Here at Home”
  • The research project is scheduled to end in March 2013.
  • A complete research report will be released at the end of 2013.

The At Home/Chez Soi Interim Report and At Home/Chez Soi Early Findings Vol. 3 can be downloaded by clicking on the following links:

At Home/Chez Soi Interim Report

At Home/Chez Soi Early Findings Report Volume 3

About the Mental Health Commission of Canada

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together, we spark change.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.

The views represented herein solely represent the views of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Production of this document is made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.

For further information:

Nujma Bond
Manager, Communication
Cell: 403-826-3942
Office: 403-385-4033
[email protected]


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