Building on Strengths in Supported Housing and the Treatment of Mental Illness in BC

Research co-lead: 

  • Julian Somers
    Simon Fraser University, At Home Project, Homeless Intervention Program, Inter-Ministry Research Initiative 

Research user co-lead:

  • Darrell Burnham
    Coast Mental Health

Team members: 

  • David MacIntyre
    BC Non-Profit Housing Association
  • Dominic Flanagan
    BC Housing
  • Taryn Walsh
    Ministry of Mental Health & Addiction
  • Elenore Arend
    Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General
  • Colin Ross
    City of Vancouver, BC Justice Summit
  • Stefanie Rezansoff
    Simon Fraser University 

BC research has examined the effects of supported housing on mental illness, addiction, crime, public safety, community integration, quality of life, and total public expenditure. Local and international studies show that increased spending does not necessarily result in significant improvement for people with complex needs, and that effective interventions require specific coordinated approaches to service delivery. At present, no central source of support exists to ensure that relevant research is available to inform practices in BC.

This project will convene provincial partners who are responsible for addressing homelessness, mental illness, and addiction, and identify priorities for cross-sector coordination, implementation of best practices, and evaluation. Identified priorities will be reviewed with additional provincial stakeholders (e.g., municipal government, community-based housing & health service providers, patients & family members). Priorities and recommendations will be finalized by the project team along with recommended next steps and made available to the public via SFU web-based media and communications.

 Results will inform a multi-year plan for applied research addressing housing and mental illness in BC.