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Treat homelessness first, everything else later: Study
Date:4/28/2014

rental housing if they stayed in the program. The program also provides therapeutic recreation, addiction counselling and housing support services to improve the overall well-being of participants.

"As far as we know, the therapeutic recreation program is something unique to Hamilton," said Dean Waterfield, director of Housing and Homelessness at Wesley Urban Ministries. "It gives participants an opportunity to be active, social, build relationships and even helps assist with mental health and addiction concerns by filling up time in the day."

Wesley Urban Ministries' full-time recreational therapist provides programming that includes bowling and baseball leagues, cooking classes, movie days, drop-in lunches and summer outdoor programming. The therapist also offers individualized therapy according to case management plans.

Since 2010, 176 Transitions to Home participants have taken part in the recreation management program. The average time a participant spends in recreation therapy is move than 15 hours.

Enrollment with Transitions to Home reduces nights spent in shelters. Sixteen per cent of participants who enrolled in 2010 did not spend a single night in a homeless shelter that year. By 2013, 56 per cent of that 2010 group had not spent one night in a shelter. Nearly 16 per cent of participants who enrolled in 2011 did not spend a single night in a homeless shelter that year. By 2013, 65.6 per cent had not spent one night in a shelter. Finally, 9.5 per cent of 2012-enrolled participants did not spend a night in a homeless shelter that year. By 2013, 66.7 per cent had not used a shelter for a single night.

Additionally, Dr. Woodhall-Melnik and her fellow researchers interviewed 26 men 16 who were enrolled in the Transitions to Home program and 10 frequent shelter users who were not enrolled. The research team also interviewed case-management teams and senior social services workers.

Researchers also found ma
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Contact: Geoff Koehler
koehlerg@smh.ca
416-864-6060 x6537
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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