By Chris Ferguson
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 »