Addiction Supportive Housing Implementation Review

Final reports

Addictions and Mental Health Ontario are pleased to be sharing the four reports from the Addiction Supportive Housing Implementation Review funded as a part of the Ontario Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP) through Health Canada.

As stated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the objectives of the implementation of Supportive Housing for people with persistent and problematic substance abuse included:

  • To reduce the frequency of re-admissions to addiction programs, particularly Withdrawal Management Services. 
  • To increase housing stability for people with problematic substance use and with concurrent disorders.
  • To reduce pressure on the emergency care and acute care systems.

The Addictions Supportive Housing Implementation Review undertook a systemic evaluation of supportive housing programs in Ontario targeted to people with persistent and problematic substance use issues. The data collected from this project will be used to develop and implement best practices and service standards or guidelines for supportive housing.


To read the reports click on the links below:

1. Addictions Supportive Housing Literature Review

Key Findings:

  • Housing support in any form is an effective intervention for people with severe addiction (or mental health) issues
  • Supportive housing produces positive results 
  • ‘Housing First’ approaches vary widely – no single definition despite Pathway’s Fidelity Scale

2. Program Snapshot

45 programs across Ontario were identified with first tenants housing from January 2011 to April 2013. Addictions Supportive Housing Programs vary by:

Housing duration (permanent/temporary)

  • Housing model (independent – scattered or clustered/congregate)
  • Client/Staff ratio (8:1/other)
  • Program engagement requirement
  • Abstinence/Harm Reduction 

3. Report on Client Focus Groups

A total of nine focus groups were completed involving 13 programs and 63 clients. Uniformly positive feedback was received across all programs – regardless of approach to housing duration, housing model, substance use goals, etc. Clients of all program types (e.g. temporary, abstinence-based vs permanent, harm reduction) believed that ‘their’ program model was the only one that would work. Clients noted they wanted more ASH programming – to assist more people and reduce wait lists.

4. Evolving Practices –Interim Report

Six programs varying in program delivery appeared to be achieving good results in the following areas:

  • Reducing admissions to ED
  • Reducing admissions to residential WMS
  • Reducing hospitalizations
  • Increasing linkages to primary care providers

All 6 require that clients be engaged with the case manager and involvement in other services provided by the agency.

As you know, Health Canada’s Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP) has awarded an extension of funding to:

  1. Work with DATIS to improve quality of ASH data
  2. Collect and analyze new data
  3. Work with Costing Project to ensure costing methodology reflects ASH variables
  4. Hold ASH knowledge exchange event 
  5. Develop sample operating policies consistent with best practices, as related to established principles
  6. Write final report summarizing project process and outcomes 

We will provide more details as they become available and look forward to your continued support and advice.

Thank you again for your participation in this project and we look forward to our continued collaboration!