Baseline Consumer Narratives of Lived Experience of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi Project: Cross Site Report

This report presents a synthesis of the findings of the baseline consumer narrative interviews collected for the At Home/Chez Soi project1. This pan Canadian project, which is funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), is a five-year research demonstration study exploring interventions for homeless adults who have mental illnesses. At Home/Chez Soi applies evidence-based interventions in the Canadian context to better understand which housing, service, and system interventions can best help homeless adults with mental illnesses. The At Home/Chez Soi project has been implemented in five Canadian cities: Moncton, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, and Vancouver. 

This report focuses on the baseline consumer narratives, which were collected through semi-structured individual interviews from December 2009 –June 2011. The At Home/Chez Soi project is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of Housing First vs. Treatment as Usual (TAU) (Goering et al., 2011; Nelson, Goering, & Tsemberis, 2012; Tsemberis, Gulcur, & Nakae, 2004). Within each experimental condition, there are two groups of participants: (1) individuals classified as having high needs, who receive support from Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams in the Housing First condition, and (2) individuals with moderate needs, who receive services from Intensive Case Management (ICM) programs in the Housing First condition. Each of the five research sites had the option of developing a “third arm”, meaning an intervention condition that was tailored to address specific needs within their local context. At the time of data collection, participants in the Housing First condition were either awaiting housing or had very recently received housing. 

The purpose of this research on the baseline consumer narratives is to understand the lived experience of consumers through life story interviews. This component of the research was designed to provide a baseline of these lived experiences, which will enable the researchers to perform an analysis of change in the consumers’ narratives over time. The baseline narrative analysis was designed to complement the more traditional outcome measures collected for the project.

This report also includes a Key Messages document and an Executive Summary at the beginning.

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