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article imageCanada's Mental Health Commission Launches Homeless Pilot Project Special

By KJ Mullins     Nov 23, 2009 in Health
Canada's Mental Health Commission is launching a pilot project for 2,300 people with mental illnesses across the nation. For 1,300, the project will mean a place to live and social services.
The others in the project will have to deal with the currently available services that are offered to them.
The project will focus on five cities in Canada. The goal is to find the best way to provide housing and services to those that cope with mental illness and homelessness.
The At Home/Chez Soi is the largest study of its kind in Canada. In Toronto the services will be provided in eight languages, with 57 per cent of the subjects coming from immigrant and ethno-racial groups. Around 300 of those participating in Toronto will be given housing units in various locations throughout the city. The subjects will be allowed to stay at these locations for the duration of the project.
Each of the five cities will focus on a different sector of the mentally ill homeless population. Toronto's focus is the immigrant, Vancouver will study those with addiction issues, Winnipeg will look at the urban Aboriginal, Moncton will study the shortages for Anglophones, and Montreal will highlight getting people back into the workplace.
About half of the 300,000 homeless in Canada are mentally ill.
Paul Chisholm at Toronto's Housing Connections told Digital Journal that their program is helping to facilitate the pilot project. Housing Connections will be the housing seed of the Toronto part of the pilot program. Chisholm said that they are working with landlords in a variety of housing areas to "secure homes for the subjects in the program." They have placed the first two subjects into housing. Housing Connections will be placing 15 to 20 people a month during the next year into a home.
Housing Connections works with the landlords letting them know that those placed within the program will have support workers working extensively with the subjects of the study which will run until March 2013. At the end of the program the agency hopes to have in place a permanent solution that will enable the subjects to keep their homes. Until the end of the program the subjects will have assistance totaling $600 a month for their rent.
When askedif there were safeguards in place for the community and the landlords, he assured Digital Journal that was being taken care of with the support workers who will have a close relationship with their clients. While landlords will not be told of the individual needs of those in the program, clients will be placed in the most appropriate housing situation for success.
Chisholm noted that they do understand that not all of the subjects will remain in their initial placements but that additional placements will be made available to them. The goal of the program is successful placements for all of the clients.
More about Canadas mental health commission, Homeless, Pilot project
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