New DDO residence offers shelter and support for those dealing with mental health issues

A new housing project is opening tomorrow in Dollard-des-Ormeaux that will give temporary shelter to people living with mental health issues and also help them get back on their feet.

"This is what was lacking - transitional housing," said Marla Newhook, director of West Island Citizen Advocacy which is spearheading the project called the Sunshine Residence.

"This would provide them a stable place to live while they found more permanent housing."

The project features a seven-bedroom bungalow that will house as many as 20 people a year - people struggling with mental health problems who may find themselves out of a job or an apartment or a hospital.

"Some people have chronic mental health issues and will be living with them for the rest of their lives so how can we best help them to cope with that and to provide the social support they need to live independently," said Newhook in an interview with CJAD 800.

"Just basically trying to provide the social supports and practical supports that they would need to get on with their lives."

Newhook said that for example,  they can help in job and house hunting.

Three people have moved in so far. Residents will pay $500 a month in rent that will help go towards operating costs.

Newhook said it's not just a question of enough affordable housing or affordable housing for people going through mental health issues.

"It's helping somebody overcome  a crisis," said Newhook.

"It's helping somebody organize themselves so they can cope with whatever is happening in their lives."

The Sunshine Residence is also looking for donations to help furnish the house. If you can help, contact them at www.volunteerwica.com.