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 Ottawa 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 continue their 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.
The CMHA Ottawa housing outreach team engages individuals who are living predominately in shelters to find and maintain housing in the community. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, 241 unhoused individuals were helped by the Housing Outreach team to find and/or maintain permanent housing.
For more information on World Homeless Day, visit their website.