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CMHA Recognizes National Housing Day

CMHA commends Federal Government on national housing strategy

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) commends the Government of Canada on today’s announcement of a national housing strategy.

With its plans to create 100,000 new affordable housing units and to renovate 300,000 existing units, the strategy will focus on providing social housing, and will concentrate on the most vulnerable members of our community.

Among the most vulnerable are the more than 500,000 Canadians living with mental illnesses who are either experiencing homelessness, or have inadequate housing.

That’s in part because Canadians experiencing homelessness, or are on the verge of homelessness, are at high risk for serious mental health issues. What’s more, as a period of homelessness increases, so are mental health problems likely to worsen. That’s because housing is what researchers and sociologists call a “social determinant of health”. It is a factor, like employment and financial security, that can have a serious impact on our health, generally, and specifically, on our mental health.

CMHA has housing programs available through 47 of its branches and divisions. The common thread in CMHA’s housing programs is the goal of recovery for Canadians experiencing homelessness due to mental illnesses and substance use disorders. In addition to housing supports, CMHA branches also provide more than 1300 homes across Canada.

Many jurisdictions in Canada have adopted a Housing First approach to getting people off the street and into homes. Based on the knowledge that people need to be housed first, before their other problems can be solved, the Housing First model provides housing in conjunction with other supports. CMHA Housing First programs are demonstrating great success in keeping people stably housed.

CMHA believes that adequate housing is a human right and central to recovery. With proper supports in place, we can end homelessness. This National Housing Day, join CMHA in declaring that housing is a human right.