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Supportive housing cheaper than jail or hospital, says local agency

New housing for people struggling with mental health and addiction issues will soon be coming to Cornwall Road.

Grace House, a transitional housing facility at 130 Cornwall Road, will be redeveloped into a five-storey building with 37 private geared-to-income units.

The upgrade will allow Support House, the regional non-profit agency that has operated the property since 2014, to help more people.

“Mental health and substance abuse issues are not unique in the Halton region,” says a press release from the organization. “What is unique is getting support close to home.”

The planned upgrade to Grace House will allow people space and privacy in their own units, complete with their own bedrooms, living rooms and kitchens.

It will also offer common areas, program space and onsite resident support, with the aim of moving people into long-term independent housing.

The current two-storey facility, located across the street from the GO Station and just west of the Sunrise of Oakville assisted living facility for seniors, has ten beds in a congregate setting.

Town council approved the facility's expansion at its May 15 planning and development meeting.

Support House is now seeking funding to make the upgrade a reality. 

The new facility will save money for all levels of government, according to the agency.

“Studies repeatedly show that access to safe, affordable, and inclusive housing improves individual health outcomes and reduce isolation, hospitalization and incarceration,” says a Support House press release.

While supportive housing costs the system $613 a month, that’s far cheaper than other possibilities.

Housing a person in a shelter would cost three times that much money. A long-term care facility would be six times as expensive, while a correctional facility would cost seven times as much.

“If that person ended up in a hospital bed, it would cost the province 22 times as much as social housing,” according to the agency.

Support House was founded in 1982 to provide community-based housing options for people with mental health issues. It operates supportive housing homes and townhouses throughout Halton.

 Donations can be made through the agency’s website.