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The Progressive Economics Forum

10 Things to Know About the At Home/Chez Soi Study

On Tuesday, April 8, results of the Mental Health Commission of Canada‘s At Home/Chez Soi homelessness study will be released at an Ottawa press conference. The study followed more than 2,000 participants in five Canadian cities.  All were homeless when the study began. Half of them received the Housing First intervention, and half of them did not.  Data was collected from 2009 until 2013.

Here are 10 things you should know about this study.

1. It is one of the most ambitious randomized controlled trials in Canadian history.

2. Its $110 million budget was funded entirely by Health Canada.

3. The decision to fund it was made by the Harper government.

4. At least 30 separate studies will roll out of this project. More than a dozen have already been released.

5. For years to come, many researchers will be able to access raw data from the study for further analysis.

6. The results are being announced in a context of declining federal funding for homelessness. (After adjusting for inflation, annual federal funding for homelessness in 2014 represents just 35% of its 1999 level.)

7. As the study is being released, use of emergency shelters in Canada’s largest city has been on the rise.

8. The report is being released amid some evidence that Toronto shelter conditions have been worsening.

9. Canada’s Minister of State for Social Development is scheduled to attend the release of the study’s findings.

10. The “intervention” being studied (namely, the Housing First approach to homelessness) was explicitly endorsed in last October’s federal throne speech.

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Comments

Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: April 5, 2014, 2:37 pm

Okay so what is the point of this study? You give a person a homeless person a house- and you are studying what? To see if they stay? Is that not the whole point of homelessness? Truly after reading the report I just do not get the reason for the study- was it actually one of those research- action policy things? That is, since homeless help is so bad- you pretend to study the subject- but in actual fact you spend the money like it should be and actually house people that need a house?

I am confused- I hope somebody can explain it to me.

Comment from Darwin O’Connor
Time: April 5, 2014, 4:36 pm

A lot of people who are homeless have serious addictions, too. I guess this study is to see if it is worth giving them a home before addessing thier addiction.

Comment from Thomas Bergbusch
Time: April 5, 2014, 6:47 pm

This should not be a chicken and egg debate. One cannot address an addiction without giving the addict safe shelter. Treatment and housing go hand in hand.

Comment from John Deacon
Time: April 7, 2014, 1:31 pm

A dear friend of mine, Hercules, has benefitted greatly from this program and is presently in Ottawa to tell the story of how the ‘At Home/Chez Soi’ program has helped him.
It is my hope as it is his, that the end result of tomorrow’s hearing that more funding will be available to help vulnerable persons find a home in conjunction with the health care services they need.

Comment from Jennifer O.
Time: April 7, 2014, 6:54 pm

I hope that this document will finally provide enough quantifiable evidence for federal, provincial and municipal funding for the provision of affordable housing for those Canadians living in, or near the poverty line. The rising cost of housing for many, has literally left them in the cold. It’s time for our elected representatives to champion this issue once and for all.

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