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Standard of living is low for most court support and early intervention clients

August 19, 2010

Findings from a recently released report, “The Matryoshka Project: Examining the Effects of Enhanced Funding on Specialized Programs – Examining the Standard of Living of Clients in Community Mental Health Programs,” show that the majority of court support and early intervention clients are living on low income. These clients experience both a low standard of living and low quality of life.

Previous project reports have identified that the average annual income for clients of early intervention and court support programs is less than $11,000. Employing the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada definition of a standardized basket of goods and services, this recent report outlines the difficult choices that clients sometimes have to make with their limited incomes, when buying food, shelter, transportation, clothing and telephone services.

The median proportion of income spent on shelter by court support clients is 62 percent. For early intervention clients, it is 48 percent. These results show that clients have little money left, after paying for shelter, to buy other basic necessities.

For most clients, opportunities to improve their situation are limited. For example, 38 percent of court support clients have not finished high school, and 80 percent of those are not continuing with their education. For early intervention clients, 31 percent have not completed high school and 56 percent of those are not carrying on with their studies.

These and other results are outlined in the report.

The Matryoshka Project is part of the Systems Enhancement Evaluation Initiative (SEEI), an innovative multi-faceted four-year evaluation of the effects of the investments made by the government of Ontario in specific areas of the community mental health system.

See “The Matryoshka Project: Examining the Effects of Enhanced Funding on Specialized Programs – Examining the Standard of Living of Clients in Community Mental Health Programs,” April 30, 2010, available at www.ehealthontario.ca.

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