Real Stories, Real Lives.

In February 2008, the Federal government allocated $110 million to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) to find ways to help the growing number of homeless people who live with a mental illness. The MHCC developed the At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project on homelessness and mental illness. As part of the project, RainCity Housing and Support Society was chosen to pilot a Housing First Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in Vancouver.

Housing First is an approach that offers homeless people immediate access to regular independent apartments in the neighbourhood of their choice. Once housed, participants were provided with wrap around health and support services by the ACT Team. We were surprised by how this model challenged our beliefs and assumptions about how to provide effective care and housing to people who struggled with homelessness and mental health.

Some of the individuals that we worked with decided to share their experiences as participants of the project. These stories were recorded and edited by award winning film maker Gwen Haworth.

Gwen is a trans* filmmaker born and raised within Vancouver, Canada, on unceded Coast Salish Territory. After graduating with a degree in psychology, Gwen went on to complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in Film Production at the University of British Columbia.

She trained as a director’s intern with the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and serves on the board of directors for Out On Screen, which oversees the Vancouver Queer Film Festival and Out In Schools.