Supportive Housing in Ontario: Estimating the Need 2017


This report provides preliminary population-based estimates of need for housing with support for people with serious mental illness or addiction in Ontario. Various approaches can be taken to estimating need for supportive housing. These include use of administrative or clinical data such as waiting lists, consultations with service provider agencies or experts, application or projection of relevant data from broader populations, and social or population surveys. Population-based estimates are a useful systematic approach to understanding needs. Populationbased estimates should be viewed as one approach among others, serving as a form of triangulating and cross-checking of estimates produced by other approaches. There exist no population-based estimates of need for this type of supportive housing in Ontario. Indeed, a review of the large research literature on supportive housing for people with mental illness or addictions found no general population-based estimates for any jurisdiction, with two notable exceptions. One of these was Waegermakers-Schiff et al. (2014).1 This source briefly reviewed the range and dominant themes in the mental health housing literature, identified this large gap, and prepared an estimate for Calgary. Another exception was Patterson et al. (2007),2 discussed below. As prior research has noted,3 there are also no standard methodologies for analyses population-based need estimates for housing with support in relation to mental illness (mental disorder) and addictions (problematic substance use). However, there are standard methods for key methodological steps or components – which can be combined into an overall method as discussed below.

Publication date: 
Jan 2017
Greg Suttor
Wellesley Institute
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