How did a Housing First intervention improve health and social outcomes among homeless adults with mental illness in Toronto? Two-year outcomes from a randomised trial

How did a Housing First intervention improve health and social outcomes among homeless adults with mental illness in Toronto? Two-year outcomes from a randomised trial

Abstract

Objectives

We studied the impact of a Housing First (HF) intervention on housing, contact with the justice system, healthcare usage and health outcomes among At Home/Chez Soi randomised trial participants in Toronto, a city with an extensive service network for social and health services for individuals who are experiencing homelessness and mental illness.

Methods

Participants identified as high needs were randomised to receive either the intervention which provided them with housing and supports by an assertive community treatment team (HF+ACT) or treatment as usual (TAU). Participants (N=197) had in-person interviews every 3 months for 2 years.

Results

The HF+ACT group spent more time stably housed compared to the TAU group with the mean difference between the groups of 45.8% (95% CI 37.1% to 54.4%, p<0.0001). Accounting for baseline differences, HF+ACT group showed significant improvements over TAU group for community functioning, selected quality-of-life subscales and arrests at some time points during follow-up. No differences between HF+ACT and TAU groups over the follow-up were observed for health service usage, community integration and substance use.

Conclusions

HF for individuals with high levels of need increased housing stability and selected health and justice outcomes over 2 years in a city with many social and health services.

PUBLICATION DATE: 2016
LOCATION: Toronto, Ontario, Canada