Nova Scotia

No homes for stable mental-health patients

Mental health care professionals in Halifax are struggling to find housing for patients who are stable but have nowhere to go.

Mental health care professionals in Halifax are struggling to find housing for patients who are stable but have nowhere to go.

Nearly 60 people are in hospital beds in the Capital Health region, even though they are stable and ready to be discharged. The problem is they can't find suitable housing.

"It feels as though we're getting a larger and larger percentage of people with whom we're having difficulty placing," said Peter Croxall, director of the mental health program at the health authority.

Croxall said there isn't enough money to expand a program with landlords to provide subsidized housing to more than 80 people.

Most of those modest homes are in smaller apartment buildings.

"What we've done is we've said if you give us a break on the rental costs on some of these units, we will put people in there and we will support them. It's an indication of how well people do when they have their own places," Croxall said.

Without support and affordable housing, people with mental-health problems could end up on the street, said Claudia Jahn, with the Community Action on Homelessness.

Jahn said shelters aren't good options: "It creates a lot of stress in this living environment. It's a really overcrowded environment."

Croxall said the hospitals do everything they can to keep patients safe, including keeping some on the mental-health ward for up to six years.

now