National At Home/Chez Soi Final Report / Rapport final du projet pancanadien Chez Soi

In Canada, the current response to homelessness mostly relies on shelters for emergency housing. Before they are offered housing, individuals who are homeless must first participate in treatment and remain sober for a period of time.

Housing First is an evidence-based intervention that originated in New York City. Individuals who are homeless and have serious mental illness are not required to participate in treatment before moving into housing.

In our latest Research Report Round-up, we summarize the final report of the At Home/Chez Soi pilot study, a randomized, controlled field trial of Housing First that took place in five Canadian cities. The study compared Housing First with existing approaches in each city. 

Research Report Round-ups are brief summaries of research reports, presented in a user-friendly format.

Title and Link to Report

National At Home/Chez Soi Final Report

Rapport final du projet pancanadien Chez Soi

Author(s)

Paula Goering, Scott Veldhuizen, Aimee Watson, Carol Adair, Brianna Kopp, Eric Latimer, Geoff Nelson, Eric MacNaughton, David Streiner, Tim Aubry, the Mental Health Commission of Canada

Location/Year

Ottawa, 2014

What is this report about?

In Canada, the current response to homelessness mostly relies on shelters for emergency housing. Before they are offered housing, individuals who are homeless must first participate in treatment and remain sober for a period of time.

Housing First is an evidence-based intervention that originated in New York City. Individuals who are homeless and have serious mental illness are not required to participate in treatment before moving into housing .

This report presents the main findings of the At Home/Chez Soi pilot study, a randomized, controlled field trial of Housing First that took place in five Canadian cities. The study compared Housing First with existing approaches in each city.

Among the findings:

  • Housing First can be implemented in different Canadian contexts and can be adapted to meet local needs, including rural and smaller city settings, and in communities with diverse mixes of people.
  • Most participants were able to move into and keep stable housing during the study period. In comparison, only a minority of people receiving existing approaches in each city were able to achieve stable housing.
  • Use of community services increased, as intended, and inpatient and crisis-type service use fell, particularly for the high-needs group.
  • Housing First participants had significantly greater gains in quality of life and community functioning compared to those who received treatment as usual.

Policy implications of this project:

  • Housing First is able to end homelessness for those who are chronically homeless and living with serious mental health, addiction, and facing other complex health and social issues.
  • Housing First improves access to community services and can help to contain costs for these services.
  • To achieve the best outcomes, Housing First programs should stay close to the core aspects of the model, even when adapted to different settings.
  • To be successful, Housing First requires partnership and collaboration across government, communities, and service sectors.
  • Housing First may need to be adapted to meet the needs of specific sub-groups.
  • Policies and funding that address the lack of affordable housing (including Housing First and rent supplements) across the nation is needed to end homelessness in Canada.

How can this report be used?

This report provides evidence on the feasibility and effectiveness of applying a Housing First model in Canadian settings. The Canadian Housing First Toolkit is a resource based on the At Home / Chez Soi findings for communities interested in starting up Housing First programs.

Type of study:

Randomized, controlled study.

Population:

Individuals living in homelessness or at risk of homelessness

Key words:

Housing, mental illness, homelessness

Contact person/source:

The Mental Health Commission of Canada
110 Quarry Park Blvd SE, Suite 320, Calgary, Alberta, T2C 3G3