November 22, 2017
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This National Housing Day, CMHA looks forward to the announcement of a national housing strategy.
It’s 2017, and yet homelessness in Canada persists in all corners of our country, from mega-city to small town. In spite of current initiatives, homelessness continues to plague Canadians with mental health problems. In fact, more than 500,000 Canadians living with mental illnesses are either experiencing homelessness, or have in 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.
In recognition of the importance of this day, Christine Stewart, the Executive Director of CMHA Central Alberta stated,”November 22 is National Housing Day, set aside to remind us all that housing is not a certainty for everyone in this country. Today in our country, 3.3 million people do not have housing they can afford and approximately 235,000 people experience homelessness each year. CMHA Red Deer is committed to assisting community partners in eliminating this problem in any way we can. On this day, please give some thought to the significance of this epidemic and how you can help.”
The City of Red Deer has a five year plan to end homelessness available on its website.
CMHA has housing programs available through 47 of its branches and divisions. In addition to housing supports. 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. 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 acknowledging that housing is a human right.