Last week we celebrated a significant achievement in improving the lives of people with complex mental illness who are in need of supportive housing. The official re-opening of the apartment tower at 1011 Lansdowne Ave, is the result of an innovative housing partnership between CAMH, Lansdowne Property Management (LPM), Madison Community Services and the City of Toronto. Through this partnership, we are providing a safe and supported transition for 20 long-stay CAMH clients to independent bachelor apartments.
The CAMH Community Support and Research Unit (CSRU), Schizophrenia Program and Madison Community Services are working together to improve community integration by acknowledging the unique needs of our clients and providing necessary supports for a successful transition from hospital. Madison Community Services provides high support in the building, CAMH provides clinical out-patient services, and peer support workers help clients participate in activities of daily living, including shopping, cooking, and recreational activities.
A view of the group kitchen space in the new Community Room at 1011 Lansdowne Ave.
When first announced, Toronto media
columnists were skeptical of our partnership with LPM, concerned that
the building was unredeemable and CAMH clients were unsafe. The recent
transformation of the building is remarkable. In addition to the
physical renovations, LPM Property Manager Roslyn Brown has invested in
helping to create a community at 1011 Lansdowne. Free of charge, LPM
has built a program space for CAMH clients. This new space includes a
kitchen, lounge, group dining area, computer access, and office space.
The whiteboard in the Community Room features the weekly menu and group activities like ice skating.
The quote at the top of the board reads, "A weakness is a strength not yet developed."
Finding safe, clean affordable housing with additional supports that our clients with complex mental illnesses require is an ongoing challenge. It takes partnerships with committed agencies like Madison and property owners like LPM to provide this critical component of recovery.
More about 1011 Lansdowne from the Toronto Star:
Supportive housing is of great benefit to clients and the mental health and addictions system because it improves flow within the system. It helps support clients who no longer need the acute care offered by a hospital to transition safely into the community. It also frees up much needed hospital beds for those who do require acute care.
This partnership is a new model that we hope other property owners will explore. As the project at 1011 Lansdowne shows us, when agencies come together, novel solutions to housing needs are achievable.