Housing support in any form is an effective intervention for people with severe addiction or mental health issues in the province, according to a review by Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO). Funded by the Ontario Drug Treatment Funding Program, the Addiction Supportive Housing Implementation Review is a systemic evaluation by AMHO of supportive housing programs in Ontario for people with persistent and problematic substance abuse issues.
The review consists of four reports, which include an analysis of programs through a scan of academic and non-academic literature, a snapshot describing Ontario’s 42 Addictions Supportive Housing (ASH) programs, and a report on client focus groups interviewed about their experience with the programs.
Client focus groups were especially enlightening. Clients interviewed were uniformly positive about their experience with ASH across all programs, regardless of approach to housing duration, housing model, substance abuse issues or program type.
“Housing security allows us to concentrate on recovery,” said one focus group participant.
A number of participants also noted how the ASH model helped them feel supported and accepted by their community.
“The ASH model gives me anonymity,” one participant explained. “I moved into a regular house with a regular moving van, so there was no stigma.”
The review also included a report on evolving practices at six of Ontario’s ASH programs, which highlighted the benefits of ASH to the wider healthcare system, including:
- Reduced admissions to emergency departments and residential withdrawal management services
- Reduced hospitalizations
- Increased linkages to primary care providers.
In addition to the sharing the review’s reports with the public, the data collected by AMHO will be used to develop and implement best practices, service standards and guidelines for supportive housing.
To read all four reports from the review, download the documents below.
Addiction Supportive Housing Implementation Review: