Permanent Supportive Housing
Permanent supportive housing offers people who have experienced homelessness support to achieve housing and personal stability. This type of program can end the experience of chronic homelessness for people who face barriers due to mental/physical health problems or addiction. Permanent supportive housing services include frequent in-home meetings, assistance navigating local services and employment assistance. There are two main types of permanent supportive housing programs:
- Place-based: Participants live in a single location and services are often provided 24/hours a day, 7 days a week. Participants in this type of program have more complex needs than those in scattered site programs. The Parkside pilot is an example of this type of program.
- Scattered site: Participants live in independent units (scattered) throughout the community. Participants in this type of program generally have fewer needs than those in place-based programs.
Why do we need PSH in Grande Prairie?
We believe finding the right housing for the right individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness is key to successfully ending homelessness in Grande Prairie.
Both the Grande Prairie Five Year Plan to End Homelessness (2015-2019) and the provincial plan to end homelessness have identified PSH as critical infrastructure for each plan to achieve success. All of Alberta’s 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness, with the exception of Grande Prairie, have an inventory of PSH units and consider them a key component of their work toward ending homelessness.
Currently, the Parkside pilot project operates the only place-based permanent supportive housing units in Grande Prairie. More PSH units are necessary to support these individuals to maintain stable housing and helping to end homelessness in Grande Prairie. Along with the social/human argument for focusing efforts on ending chronic homelessness, there is an economic argument for investment of resources in moving people experiencing chronic homelessness into housing with supports, since chronic homelessness is accompanied by heavy use of health and justice systems.
Benefits of Permanent Supportive Housing:
- Improved effectiveness of other programs that address homelessness
- Reduced number of people experiencing chronic homelessness
- Improved physical and mental wellbeing for residents
- Increased social inclusion and independence for residents
- Reduced costs to public systems related to chronic homelessness, including shelter use, hospital visits, involvement with police and corrections, and involvement in courts