Long-term effects of rent supplements and mental health support services

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SUMMARY OF RESEARCH

Housing First is increasingly implemented for homeless adults with mental illness in large urban centres, but little is known about its long-term effectiveness. The At Home/Chez Soi randomised controlled trial done in five cities in Canada showed that Housing First improved housing stability and other select health outcomes. We extended the At Home/Chez Soi trial at the Toronto site to evaluate the long-term effects of the Housing First intervention on housing and health outcomes of homeless adults with mental illness over 6 years.

Rent supplements and mental health support services had an enduring positive effect on housing stability for homeless adults with mental illness in a large, resource-rich urban centre, with a larger impact on individuals with high support needs than moderate support needs.

Wroblewski received his own one bedroom [furnished] apartment on a tree lined street in Toronto's west end. It's near public transit and grocery stores. He pays $475 -- or two thirds of the rent -- from his meagre pension. The housing program pays the other third. Now, Wroblewski has called it home for the past eight years, being grateful for it every day. "Eight years … and six months … it's the longest time that I'm not homeless, the longest time that I'm really peaceful," Wroblewski said.

Stergiopoulos, V. et al

Studies estimate that it costs up to $161,000 per person per year when you take into account medical fees, hospital visits, police resources, jail time and shelter costs. One breakdown done by Homes First shows the relative costs per month for a place to sleep.

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SOURCE:

Study by CAMH and St. Michael’s Hospital shows Housing First program significantly reduces homelessness over long term. (n.d.). CAMH. Retrieved January 10, 2020, from https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/camh-and-st-michael-study-on-homelessness

Stergiopoulos, V., Mejia-Lancheros, C., Nisenbaum, R., Wang, R., Lachaud, J., O’Campo, P., & Hwang, S. W. (2019). Long-term effects of rent supplements and mental health support services on housing and health outcomes of homeless adults with mental illness: Extension study of the At Home/Chez Soi randomised controlled trial. The Lancet. Psychiatry, 6(11), 915–925. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30371-2

For homeless people struggling with mental illness, housing can make a world of difference: Canadian study. (2019, October 7). CTVNews. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/for-homeless-people-struggling-with-mental-illness-housing-can-make-a-world-of-difference-canadian-study-1.4627905

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