Investments will strengthen supports for individuals with mental health and addictions challenges
December 10, 2020 Health
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing over $47 million to provide supportive housing for individuals with severe mental health and addictions challenges who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The funding will also support the creation of a new Back to Home program to help patients transition from hospitals to permanent housing.
Details were provided today by Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, and Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
"This additional investment in supportive housing will help put a roof over the heads of individuals living with severe mental health and addictions challenges and enable them to live independently," said Minister Elliott. "It will also alleviate hospital capacity pressures, and provide landlords with the resources they need to upgrade and maintain supportive housing and provide a safe and comfortable home for their tenants."
This funding is part of the government's $176 million investment in the Roadmap to Wellness, a comprehensive plan to build a fully connected mental health and addictions system across the province. It includes:
- $13.7 million to create a Back to Home program that will provide supportive housing for patients in hospitals with mental health and addictions challenges who do not need hospital-level acute care;
- $6.6 million in additional investments to help up to 25 supportive housing providers across Ontario that maintain housing units for those at risk of homelessness;
- $1.9 million to assist with the transition of the Homes for Special Care program to the modernized Community Homes for Opportunity program, which will provide enhanced support services for tenants, such as the purchase of electronic devices to ensure tenants can maintain connection with family and participate in virtual appointments;
- $850,000 in rent supplements to retain supportive housing properties where agreements with Ontario are expiring;
- $10 million to strengthen mental health and addictions supports for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in communities hit hard by COVID-19; and
- Over $14 million for supportive housing programs designated for justice involved individuals. Announced in November as part of Ontario's investments to expand mental health services across the justice system, this will fund up to 524 new units across the province for individuals who are either on diversion plans from mental health court or have been released from a provincial correctional facility, including $1.03 million for up to 20 units that are affiliated with five new post-court transitional case managers. Transitional case managers will also provide support to individuals involved in the justice system with mental health and/or addictions challenges to rapidly access services, such as counselling, therapy and peer support, so that they can live safely in the community.
"Every person in Ontario deserves access to the most appropriate supports as they move forward in their journey to mental wellness," said Associate Minister Tibollo. "By investing in supportive housing for Ontarians challenged by mental health and addictions issues, we are providing some of our most vulnerable populations with access to safe and secure housing, as well as access to the services they need, when and where they need them."
"COVID-19 has had a significant impact on Ontarians who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and our government is committed to getting them the mental health and addictions support they need," said Minister Clark. "This is a critical first step down the road to recovery for those who are suffering with these issues. That's why we are increasing funding to strengthen mental health and addictions services in communities across Ontario to help vulnerable people."
The Ontario government's long-term investments in mental health and addictions services demonstrate its commitment to helping its most vulnerable populations and will enhance access to critical mental health services and housing supports across the province. These investments are also a key initiative of Ontario's Action Plan: Protect, Support, Recover.
- To enable Roadmap to Wellness, Ontario is investing $3.8 billion over 10 years to create new services and expand programs.
- The government is investing $176 million this year in mental health and addiction services. This investment builds on the $174 million the government invested last year for mental health and addictions programs, bringing new base investments across the sector since 2019-20 to a total of more than $350 million.
- Mental health and addictions patients currently make up a significant portion of patients designated as alternate level of care in Ontario hospitals, and have the longest hospital stays. The province’s new Back to Home program will help to alleviate these hospital capacity pressures while transitioning patients to permanent supportive housing.
- As part of the government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the province invested an additional $26.75 million in emergency funding for mental health and addictions services. The funding has already helped more than 43,000 Ontarians continue to access the services they need during this challenging time, including new supports such as online and virtual tools and counselling.
- Ontario’s $510 million Social Services Relief Fund will help stop the spread of COVID-19 in homeless shelters and keep vulnerable people safe. It builds on our COVID-19 Action Plan to Protect Vulnerable Ontarians that is helping to save lives.
- To find the right supports, visit COVID-19: Support for People to get information about the many available and free mental health services and supports.