Housing First (HF) has been linked to increased tenure in housing for homeless people with mental illness, but the effect of HF on housing stability for people with borderline or lower intellectual functioning has not been examined. This study of homeless adults with mental illness in Toronto, Ontario assessed whether the association between housing stability and HF differed for adults with borderline or lower intellectual functioning, compared to adults with above borderline intellectual functioning.
This study included 172 homeless adults with mental illness from the Toronto site of the At Home-Chez Soi randomized trial that compared receiving HF relative to treatment as usual. This sample was divided into two intellectual functioning groups: 1) adults with borderline or lower intellectual functioning (IQ < 85, 16%), and 2) adults with above borderline intellectual functioning (IQ ≥ 85, 84%). We compared these groups by modelling the percentage of days stably housed using a linear multivariable generalized estimating equation and included interaction between treatment and intellectual functioning. An interaction between treatment and time was also included.
There were no overall differences in housing stability for individuals with borderline or lower intellectual functioning compared to people with higher than borderline intellectual functioning in either the HF or the treatment as usual groups.
This study is the first to demonstrate that for homeless adults with mental illness, borderline or lower intellectual functioning did not significantly affect housing stability. This accentuates the need for more research and potentially wider consideration of their inclusion in housing interventions, such as HF.
Anna Durbin, PhD, Yona Lunsky, PhD, Ri Wang, MMath, Rosane Nisenbaum, PhD, Stephen W. Hwang, MD, MPH, Patricia O’Campo, PhD, Vicky Stergiopoulos, MD, MHSc
The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Vol 63, Issue 11, 2018