As individuals and organizations recognize World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day on October 10, CMHA-WECB is reminding the community that housing is key to the recovery for many people with mental health issues.
Individuals with serious mental health conditions frequently identify income and housing as the most important factors in achieving and maintaining their health. Studies show that people who are homeless are more likely to experience compromised mental health and mental illness than the general population. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, between 25 to 50 per cent of the homeless population in Canada live with a mental illness(es). The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing gaps in housing, making it even more difficult to find and maintain affordable housing for people living with mental illnesses and addictions.
CMHA-WECB’s Homelessness Initiative Program provides supported subsidized housing for individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and who have a mental illness. The program works with private market landlords in the community acting in a liaison capacity to assist with providing access to safe, affordable and stable housing for consumers who are receiving community support services. This program provides:
- Safe affordable access to housing
- Community based private market housing
- Search for affordable housing
- Landlord/tenant resolution and tenancy support
- Supports to maintain housing in the community
CMHA Ontario continues its efforts to promote the need for housing in general and supportive housing in particular for people with lived experience of mental illness. CMHA Ontario has 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.