In Ontario, there is great concern about chronic homelessness and renewed attention to supportive housing for those living with mental illness or addictions. This in-depth report takes a broader look at supportive housing for these populations. We ask, what exists today and how did it come to be? What different approaches exist? What ideas and goals, and what layers of history, do they embody? Understanding this context can help policy-makers, funders, providers, and others interested to see more clearly where recent initiatives and new proposals fit from a broader perspective.
This report uses a broad definition of supportive housing (housing with supports). It includes units for people who have been chronically homeless, as well as those specifically targeted to people with mental illness or addictions. It includes models where supports are directly bundled or linked with the housing, and models where they are not.
The diversity of program models and approaches is a potential strength of the Ontario system. There is a need, however, to better understand and evaluate the various approaches.