TORONTO —The Ontario government is investing $15 million this year to make it easier for people experiencing homelessness in the City of Toronto to connect to primary health care, mental health and other supports they need.
“We know people experiencing homelessness can face significant barriers to accessing health services, leaving them feeling unsupported within the health care system,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “This initiative, and our ongoing annual investment, is another important step our government is taking to help ensure the appropriate health supports are delivered where they are needed most, in the community.”
Ontario’s ongoing annual investment into the Health Services for Individuals Experiencing Homelessness Initiative, launched in 2020, is helping conveniently connect more people to health care services virtually as well as in-person at local shelters and mobile clinics. Developed by Ontario Health Toronto in collaboration with community partners such as Inner City Health Associates, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, and the Neighbourhood Group, the Initiative provides access to the following health care services and supports in the City of Toronto:
- Interprofessional primary care and psychiatric services through in-person and virtual outreach to shelters, drop-ins, clinics and streets/encampments to promote best health practices, offer vaccinations, and provide culturally appropriate primary, psychiatric, pediatric, and midwifery care from an Indigenous health professional.
- Mobile and community-embedded teams of health care workers to provide overdose prevention and mental health services, including helping people with complex and chronic mental illness connect to the right care, such as psychiatric and rehabilitation treatments.
- A peer worker support program that deploys teams made up of individuals who have experienced homelessness as a first point of contact to build trust and provide effective engagement, support, and navigation supports for those who are reluctant to access the supports and services they need.