An ambitious program that operates in Moncton to fight homelessness is starting to yield some positive results.

The At Home/Chez-Soi program is a federally funded pilot project that began two years ago.

It operates in five Canadian cities, including Moncton. At Home staff and partners in each city scour alleys and sidewalks for homeless people who fit the bill and funnel willing participants into the program.

They are divided into two groups: a new-approach group and a control group of treatment-as-usual, so the results can be compared.

Each city targets a specific subset of that group.

In Moncton, the focus is on people who have migrated to the city from rural areas.

At Home has been able to place everyone approached so far. As of November, the program was fully subscribed, with 1,030 homeless people now in homes and a control group of 980 people.

The program uses an unconventional "housing first" approach, placing people in residences before providing service.

Almost half of the participants in Moncton are still in the original housing provided by the program.

The $110-million pilot project will end in the spring of 2013.

At Home staff say they don't know what will happen when the program winds down in 2013. Some of the clients will only have been housed for two years by then, and for many, that's not enough for a stable life to take hold.

The thought of pulling away support from such a large group of vulnerable people is disturbing, said facilitators.

 

With files from The Canadian Press