Mainstay Housing’s Home for Good program is a single-site, supportive housing model that combines a Housing First approach with on-site, specialized supports for people who are exiting homelessness. These supports, some of which are delivered by peer workers as well as specialized teams, are designed to help tenants improve their health, housing stability, and integration within the community.
The program was designed pre-COVID, and has since tailored its supports to help tenants stay safe and continue to access the services they need during the pandemic.
How should Housing First programs adapt to the COVID-19 context?
Using a collaborative and mixed-method approach, we are examining how the program has adapted to the COVID-19 context, and how well these adaptations have worked to support and protect tenants. We will also evaluate the Home for Good program using a matched comparison group, selected from a previous study on a scattered-site Housing First program in Toronto.
We will find out:
- How has the Home for Good program adapted and changed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How have COVID-19 and its consequences affected tenant outcomes (e.g. wellbeing, housing stability, quality of life, community engagement, food security, service utilization)?
- How well has the Home for Good program worked to improve and maintain tenants’ wellbeing? Has the program affected their use of health-care services, and/or their experiences with police and incarceration?
- How do clients feel about and describe their lives within the Home for Good program? What has it been like to experience the COVID-related changes to the program?
The results of our evaluation (conducted in collaboration with Mainstay Housing) will help strengthen the Home for Good program, and can be used to inform the development and delivery of Housing First programs across North America
Our learnings about service delivery and housing experiences in the context of COVID-19 are also urgently needed to inform COVID-19 homelessness and housing responses, and will help service providers and policy-makers to prepare for future public-health emergencies.