Breaking Ground: Exploring The Role Of Peer Support In Supportive Housing

Adults with serious mental health problems require many supports to help them function at their best and enjoy a decent quality of life.  Crucial to the recovery of this population is access to stable, supportive housing. Habitat Services, a non-profit community mental health agency, funds and monitors private sector boarding home accommodations and provides on-site housing support services to tenants to promote their housing stability and support their recovery.

Habitat is partnering with Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre, which is developing Edmond Place, a peer-delivered housing support project currently under construction in Parkdale, a neighbourhood in west Toronto.  Edmond Placewill provide 29 furnished units in a beautifully renovated historic building – the same, once neglected edifice that previously housed more than 50 psychiatric survivors before it closed due to fire.

This type of Habitat-funded accommodation is new in that it will be consumer/survivor driven.  What particular kinds of supports do tenants need?  What is the role of consumers/survivors and how can they be best supported?  These are the sorts of questions that Habitat, Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre and the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses sought to understand.  In the following report, they discuss findings of their community-based research with tenants, people providing peer support, and representatives from Toronto-based agencies and organizations that employ peer workers.

Breaking Ground: Peer Support for Congregate Living Settings

Principal Organization: Habitat Services

Partner Organizations: The Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses, Parkdale Activity and Recreation Centre

Participants: Consumer/survivors of the mental health system living in boarding homes

Research Methods: literature review, interviews, focus groups

Download Breaking Ground: Peer Support For Congregate Living Settings