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10 October 2023
On World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day, CMHA Ontario points to supportive housing as key to well-being and recovery for our most vulnerable citizens
With individuals and organizations around the globe recognizing Mental Health Day and Homelessness Day on October 10, CMHA Ontario is reminding the province that housing is key to recovery.
Right now, it is estimated that more than 500,000 people in Canada who are living with a mental illness are inadequately housed – and of those individuals approximately 120,000 are homeless.
Iin Ontario alone, more than 16,000 people are homeless on any given night, and between 40 and 60 per cent of those people are experiencing chronic homelessness.
As October 10 draws attention to the needs of people experiencing homelessness and drives actions which promote and protect everyone’s mental health, it’s important to recognize that ending chronic homelessness is a crucial part of this process.
People living with mental illness or substance use issues who are homeless benefit from a type of housing that provides mental health or substance use supports and services – this is called supportive housing.
Supportive housing is a more complex type of housing to deliver as it involves the coordination and cooperation of multiple levels of government and multiple sectors including mental health, addictions, and justice – but it works. Research shows that investing in housing with these supports can contribute to significant cost savings for the health system: it costs $486 a day to keep a person in a hospital, compared to $72 per day to house a person in the community with supports.
Community mental health and addictions agencies, such as CMHA branches, are well placed to work with municipal partners to deliver supportive housing — and are already successfully doing so across the province.
To combat chronic homelessness and to help people with mental illness or substance use issues thrive in the community, serious and sustained investment is required in supportive housing models across Ontario.
To learn more about this issue, read Housing First: The Path to Recovery.