• (416) 537-2721
  • info@habitatservices.org
  • Toronto, Ontario

Special Projects

Breaking Ground: Peer Support for Congregate Living Settings

In 2010, Habitat Services led a community based research project entitled Breaking Ground: Peer Support for Congregate Living Settings which was funded by the Wellesley Institute (WI).  In partnership with the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses (Now called Working for Change) as well as the Parkdale Activity-Recreation Centre (PARC), Habitat Services conducted community based research to consider the support needs of tenants and the employment of consumer/survivors/peers in a housing support role. The research included interviews with current and former Habitat tenants, Peer Support Workers at various agencies and agency representatives managing Peer Support Programs. The research findings were made available to the broader community and were used to prepare for the new housing model (Edmond Place) operated by PARC and funded by Habitat Services. Edmond Place opened its doors in January 2011 with a unique spin on the traditional boarding home model allowing tenants to have more flexibility and independence in their living arrangements. Edmond Place operates with a peer-staff driven model and offers employment opportunities to tenants living there. Habitat Services also provides monitoring services and housing support to the tenants at Edmond Place.

To read Breaking Ground: Peer Support for Congregate Living Settings, click here to download thefull report.


Not For Lack of Trying: Barriers to employment and the unrealized potential of psychiatric survivors living in boarding homes

In 2009, the Ontario Council of Alternative Businesses (Now called Working for Change) led a community based research project in partnership with Habitat Services and funded by the Wellesley Institute (WI). The aim of this project was to engage Habitat tenants, both as researchers and as participants in focus groups, to provide qualitative evidence regarding tenant employment. In addition to building the capacity of Habitat Services as an organization using qualitative research to promote recovery, this project also provided transferable skills to five tenants living in Habitat funded homes through training as research assistants. Through the facilitation of five focus groups, this project gathered feedback from approximately fifty individuals living in boarding homes on the topic of employment. The research found that while an overwhelming number of tenants want to work, they are confronted with a number of systemic and personal barriers. This report seeks to highlight the potential – realized and unrealized – of psychiatric survivors living in boarding homes as well as to inform the community development sector through engaging tenants in a grassroots, participatory manner.

To read Not For Lack of Trying: Barriers to employment and the unrealized potential of psychiatric survivors living in boarding homes click here to download the full report.


The Bed Bug Project: Inspection, Response, Education, & Research

In 2008, Habitat Services undertook a Bed Bug Inspection, Response and Tenant Education Project in partnership with Woodgreen Community Services. Project staff included a Program Manager, 2 Tenant Education & Outreach Workers and 4 Peer Leaders. The staff completed in-house tenant bed bug education, bed bug inspections and follow-up to ensure preparation and treatment was completed properly by the home owners and operators. The project also provided education to Habitat Services staff and the staff working in the boarding homes. The final stage of the project was to document the program and disseminate the research findings as a resource to the broader rooming house sector, private and non-profit landlords, tenants and support services. The project steering committee hired Public Interest Strategy and Communications Inc. to undertake a broad research report that brought together local Toronto experiences and current worldwide knowledge and understanding of bed bugs. The result of this research was a report tilted: Bed Bugs Are Back: Are we ready? The ultimate goal of Bed Bugs Are Back: Are We Ready? is to inform and shape public policy, government responses and community strategies aimed at implementing effective bed bug interventions that prevent uncontrolled outbreaks.

Woodgreen Community Services and Habitat Services also created a guide with assistance from Public Interest Strategy & Communications Inc. All about Bed Bugs: an Information Guide was written for tenants, landlords, community groups and anyone looking for simple and straightforward information about bed bugs.

To read Bed Bugs Are Back: Are We Ready? click here to download the full report.

To read All about Bed Bugs: an Information Guide click here.

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