Skip to main content

01.12.2012 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2012 Open Access

BMC Health Services Research 1/2012

Moving from rhetoric to reality: adapting Housing First for homeless individuals with mental illness from ethno-racial groups

BMC Health Services Research > Ausgabe 1/2012
Vicky Stergiopoulos, Patricia O’Campo, Agnes Gozdzik, Jeyagobi Jeyaratnam, Simon Corneau, Aseefa Sarang, Stephen W Hwang
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

VS is a Principal Investigator on the grant and oversaw all research activities, analysed the qualitative data, contributed to the writing of the manuscript and read all drafts of the manuscript. PO is a Principle Investigator on the grant and contributed to writing the manuscript. AG analysed the quantitative data, interpreted the findings and drafted the manuscript. JJ analysed the qualitative data and conducted the Implementation Evaluation at the Toronto site. SC conducted the literature searches on anti-oppression and anti-racism and mental health among racialized populations and contributed to the writing on these pieces. AS contributed to program development, fidelity evaluation and writing the manuscript. SWH is a Principle Investigator on the grant and contributed to revising the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The literature on interventions addressing the intersection of homelessness, mental illness and race is scant. The At Home/Chez Soi research demonstration project is a pragmatic field trial investigating a Housing First intervention for homeless individuals with mental illness in five cities across Canada. A unique focus at the Toronto site has been the development and implementation of a Housing First Ethno-Racial Intensive Case Management (HF ER-ICM) arm of the trial serving 100 homeless individuals with mental illness from ethno-racial groups. The HF ER-ICM program combines the Housing First approach with an anti-racism/anti-oppression framework of practice. This paper presents the findings of an early implementation and fidelity evaluation of the HF ER-ICM program, supplemented by participant narrative interviews to inform our understanding of the HF ER-ICM program theory.


Descriptive statistics are used to describe HF ER-ICM participant characteristics. Focus group interviews, key informant interviews and fidelity assessments were conducted between November 2010 and January 2011, as part of the program implementation evaluation. In-depth qualitative interviews with HF ER-ICM participants and control group members were conducted between March 2010 and June 2011. All qualitative data were analysed using grounded theory methodology.


The target population had complex health and social service needs. The HF ER-ICM program enjoyed a high degree of fidelity to principles of both anti-racism/anti-oppression practice and Housing First and comprehensively addressed the housing, health and sociocultural needs of participants. Program providers reported congruence of these philosophies of practice, and program participants valued the program and its components.


Adapting Housing First with anti-racism/anti-oppression principles offers a promising approach to serving the diverse needs of homeless people from ethno-racial groups and strengthening the service systems developed to support them. The use of fidelity and implementation evaluations can be helpful in supporting successful adaptations of programs and services.

Trial registration

Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42520374
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2012

BMC Health Services Research 1/2012 Zur Ausgabe