When Jason Smith found himself at Toronto’s Good Shepherd Ministries in 2016, he was just looking for a place to stay. Instead, he found a program that would help get his gambling under control—and his life back on track
Led by Dr. Flora Matheson, a scientist at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital who researches socially marginalized groups, the shelter’s Gambling Addictions Program is one-of-a-kind. The pilot project offers individual counselling, client-centred case management and a life-skills group that focuses on issues related to gambling. For some, the goal is to stop gambling altogether, and for others, it’s to reduce their behaviour and manage their spending.
For Smith, the program worked. He’s now living in a sober living house and has a job. He’s getting his G2 driver’s license in a few weeks, and moving into his own place with his sister in the fall. The Gambling Addictions Program helped him take his life back.