housing first ACT team

The Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team is based on the Pathways to Housing model from New York which incorporates a ‘Housing First’ approach into the Assertive Community Treatment model. Referrals can be made through Vancouver Coastal Health’s Central Access and Discharge line: 604.714.3771 ext 2270.

Housing First is a recovery-oriented supportive housing approach that offers homeless people living with a mental illness immediate access to rent supplements so they can live in the same kinds of apartments that are typically available to people that don’t have a mental illness.

The rent supplements are provided without requiring participation in psychiatric or substance use treatment and are available to clients throughout the course of the project. Self-determination, choice and harm reduction are at the centre of all considerations with respect to the provision of housing and ACT services.

Some of participants that received support from the ACT have shared their powerful stories here.

ACT is a well researched evidence-based transdisciplinary model that includes a broad array of clinical and support services. The team supports 100 clients at a client-staff ratio of 10:1. 80% of the work occurs in the community and crisis support is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Program staff are closely involved in hospital admissions and discharges.

The ACT offices, when staff are there.

A little history…

In response to the growing challenge of homelessness in Canada, the Mental Health Commission of Canada sponsored the research development project ‘At Home/Chez Soi’. It took place in five cities across Canada, including Vancouver, and began in September 2009 and ended on March 31, 2013.

Each project was designed to answer questions about what services and supports best achieve housing stability and improved health and well-being for persons who are homeless and living with a serious mental illness. RainCity Housing’s role in the Vancouver Project Team was to develop and implement the ACT team.