Housing, Income Support and Mental Health: Points of Disconnection
Health Research Policy Systems
There exists a disconnection between evolving policies in the policy arenas of mental health, housing, and income support in Canada. One of the complexities associated with analysing the intersection of these policies is that federal, provincial, and municipal level policies are involved. Canada is one of the few developed countries without a national mental health policy and because of the federal policy reforms of the 1970s, the provincial governments now oversee the process of deinstitutionalization from the hospital to the community level. During this same period the availability of affordable housing has decreased as responsibility for social housing has been transfered from the federal government to the provincial and/or municipal levels of government. Canada also stands alone in terms of being a developed nation without national housing policy instead what is considered "affordable" housing is partially dependant upon individuals' personal economic resources. As well, over the past decade rates of income supports have also been reduced. Psychiatric survivors have long been identified as being at risk for homelessness, with the disconnection existing between housing, income and mental health policies and the lack of a national policy in any of these policies areas further contributing to this risk.