- Terms used to describe housing vary across the country, and even between regions in the same province (e.g., definitions of "supported" and "supportive" housing). When looking for services, check details (e.g., whether bathrooms and kitchens are shared with other tenants), the services offered and whether the services are linked to the housing.
- The terms used here are from a 2012 Mental Health Commission of Canada report called Turning the Key: Assessing Housing and Related Supports for Persons Living with Mental Health Problems and Illness.
Dedicated mental health housing
Dedicated mental health housing is specifically designated for people with mental health problems or co-occurring substance use and mental health problems.
Housing with supports
- This type of housing is low cost (20–30% of income).
- Tenants usually have a self-contained unit.
- Housing may involve a scattered site or it may be congregate, which means that all units are in one building and buildings are generally owned or leased by a mental health program or housing provider.
- Services are flexible and linked in whole or in part to the housing setting (supportive housing), or they are provided independently of the housing setting (supported housing).
- Levels of support range in intensity.
- Services include:
- mental health support services (e.g., case management)
- housing support services that focus on maintaining housing security (e.g., finances and budgeting).
- Residents are usually not considered tenants (e.g., landlord tenant legislation does not apply).
- Kitchen and living facilities are shared. Rooms are often shared.
- A private operator provides a fixed basket of services (e.g., meals, laundry, housekeeping) to all residents.
This type of housing is funded by government and is not intended solely for people with mental health and/or addiction problems.
Publicly assisted housing includes:
- public housing
- non-profit housing
- housing co-operatives
- housing for people with developmental disabilities
- member-owned housing co-operatives.
Rent supplements bridge the gap between market rent and a geared-to-income rent that tenants can afford.
- Rent supplements are often used to help people move from homeless shelters to permanent housing.
- Many landlords want to be assured that supports and services for tenants are in place before they agree to participate in a supplement program.