A federal pilot project is helping people with a history of mental illness and homelessness to get back into the workforce in New Brunswick.

The At Home/Chez Soi program, set up by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, has taken 125 people from the Moncton area and helped them to find apartments and get the support they need.

Now many, like Lise Renaud, are prepared to take on jobs.

In the past year Renaud — who is schizophrenic — has settled into a home of her own and developed the confidence to go out and sell her artwork at the Moncton Farmers Market.

"I still have the same nervousness, but the people they help me cope with it — people from the project," Renaud said.

Jessica Forbes, vocational co-ordinator for At Home/ Chez Soi, said Renaud is like a different person.

"She's also recognizing that her schizophrenia is something that while difficult is not necessarily as handicapping as she had previously understood," Forbes said.

Besides selling her art at the market, Renaud also works part-time job at a farm in Grande Digue.

David Methot, owner of Amarosia Organic Garden, spent the summer training six participants and in the end he offered Renaud a job.

"As a society member, we need to get involved if we want to see changes," he said. "We can't just sit down and blame the government." 

Forbes is looking for more employers like Methot who are willing to open their doors to participants who want to re-enter the work world.