Mental Health Supportive Housing for Men and Women
Wilkinson Housing and Support Services offers a range of housing types and support services for individuals 16 to 64, of all gender identities and sexual orientations, who are experiencing mental health challenges often combined with homelessness or a history of homelessness. Wilkinson staff members are committed to assisting individuals in making the changes in their lives that would offer them dignity and safety. Assessment, goal setting, skills teaching, system navigation, linking to resources, advocacy and monitoring may all be components of an individualized case management plan. Twenty-four hour crisis support is provided to all Wilkinson service users.
Wilkinson clients face many challenges, including homelessness, substance abuse, isolation, loneliness and few opportunities for employment. All of this contributes to the barriers they have experienced as they struggle to live successfully in the community. Wilkinson has an active program of social opportunities for clients, with the goal of building communities of mutual support within our various houses and across the Wilkinson program overall. When an individual is struggling with barriers like those experienced by our clients, the support of others with similar experiences is the most valuable and effective support that can be found.
Housing options include high and low support options as well as independent living. Our high support housing is provided in large shared homes where residents have the security and privacy of their own room, and the social support available in shared lounges and kitchen areas. Within the communities of mutual support that develop in these shared facilities, residents are welcomed and supported by their peers and look out for each other. Staff are available 24/7 for support and crisis management.
Medium and low support options are available in large and small shared homes, where staff may be on-site for set hours each day, or where there is no regular staff presence and tenants live together and manage their home cooperatively. Wilkinson also offers support to clients living independently in the community in downtown Toronto. In North York, where supportive housing options are almost non-existent, the program has developed partnerships and linkages with other services in order to meet the complex needs of the homeless population.
Sherbourne High Support Site
The newly established Sherbourne High Support Site offers 24/7 on-site staff support to eleven men and women at a time. Eight units provide permanent and long-term housing for people whose mental health challenges prevent them from living independently.
The 3 remaining units are designated as transitional housing providing community reintegration services for men and women who have been hospitalized for an extended period and have lost life-skills and self-confidence as a result. The current average length of hospitalization for Sherbourne community reintegration clients is five years.These clients are offered intensive one-on-one support services specifically designed to help them acquire or re-acquire life skills and overcome the culture of dependency that results from extended hospitalization.
The Sherbourne program provides residents with one full meal per day plus snacks throughout the day. A personal support worker is always available to help clients with their cooking skills as they prepare their other meals. All residents of the Sherbourne site are offered the supports they need to optimize their health and well-being and live life with the greatest degree of independence.
The program is located in a lovely, heritage designated Victorian house near Bloor and Sherbourne and is surrounded by a large, treed yard.
Case Management and Support Services
Case management services are provided annually to more than 100 clients living independently in the community. Clients have access to counselling, mental health and addiction support, system navigation, advocacy, referrals to other needed services and 24-hour crisis management support.
Consumer Involvement at Wilkinson
Wilkinson Housing and Support Services values and promotes increased involvement of clients in all aspects of the program. It is easy to see this philosophy in action, including in several consumer projects. The Consulting Group for New Hires participates in the interview process whenever new staff are hired. The Drama Group, who rehearse throughout the year for a public performance each Spring, have opened their doors to welcome clients from other LOFT programs to take part. The Wilkinson Core Group is made up of service users who take responsibility for planning and organizing a series of events and outings throughout the year for any Wilkinson clients who wish to participate.
Transitional Age Youth Program
Wilkinson mobile youth community support workers and peer support workers are an integral part of the new Transitional Age Youth Program (TAY) within LOFT Youth Services. At-risk and homeless youth benefit from the expertise of Wilkinson community support workers. Peer support workers are individuals with lived experience in the mental health/substance abuse/supportive housing world, who can bring their own experience to bear in mentoring people currently dealing with the same sorts of obstacles. Because Wilkinson is an integral part of the TAY Program, youth clients experiencing serious mental illness or who, for any other reason, may benefit from longer-term support services, have ready access to Wilkinson’s adult mental health services.
For more information on the TAY Program, please see Transitional Age Youth Program.
For contact information, please visit the Contact Us page of our website and scroll down until you find the program you are looking for.