Pilot project highlights homelessness, more needed

November 24, 2009

By Chris Ferguson

A couple supported by the Ottawa mission in the ByWard Market. Photo provided courtesy of the Ottawa Mission.

Advocates for Ottawa’s homeless hope a new nationwide research project will help people get off the city’s streets.

The $110 million pilot project, led by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, will study the relationship between mental illness and homelessness.

“We’re hopeful that their research will demonstrate what those of us who work in the field already know,” said Marion Wright, chair of Ottawa’s local Alliance to End Homelessness.

The project will provide 1,325 homeless Canadians with supportive housing to determine how best to help people who are homeless and suffering from mental illness. The participants will live on their own but receive regular visits from counsellors and maintain contact with support services.

The cities of Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver will take part, and the project will run until 2013.

Wright said although the study doesn’t include Ottawa, the need for supportive housing is dire in the city. She says Ottawa’s waiting list for this type of housing has 2,600 names on it, but there are currently only 915 spaces. The pilot project is a great thing, she said, but it just scratches the surface of the need. Read the rest of this entry »


EI jumps in Ontario

November 24, 2009

By Paul Moore

Workers are relying on employment insurance in Ontario more than anywhere else in the country.

According to Statistics Canada, more than 271,000 Ontario residents applied for EI last September. That’s a 9 per cent jump compared to the previous month and higher than the national average increase of about 7 per cent.

“Since the start of the labour market downturn, Ontario has experienced the fastest rate of employment decline among all provinces,” a Statistics Canada press release said Tuesday.

Ontario’s biggest employment hit was in the manufacturing sector.