ICHA is honored that its unique cross-sector work on homelessness, health and housing receives a Future Innovator Award from The Change Foundation
Toronto, June 22, 2020 – The Change Foundation has bestowed a Future Innovator Award on Inner City Health Associates (ICHA), connecting healthcare to housing for health.
Please visit The Change Foundation's website for the complete announcement: https://changefoundation.ca/project/inner-city-health-associates/.
ICHA Medical Director Dr. Bond thanked The Change Foundation for recognizing ICHA’s collaborative efforts to address the many and diverse issues that people experiencing homelessness face daily – complex problems at the best of times which become more daunting for a population with a disproportionately high risk for contracting COVID-19 and suffering worse outcomes. He calls The Change Foundation’s choice a necessary view to the future since homelessness still remains largely on the margins of health system design and delivery.
The awards are given to nominated individuals and/or organizations that The Change Foundation selection committee felt represented critical social or technical innovations with the potential to reshape healthcare in Ontario. The five categories include caregivers, technological innovations, organizations, cross-sector models, and youth. ICHA won for the cross-sector category.
Dr. Bond credits ICHA’s members and staff, model of care, and multi-sector partners for making the organization’s early and positive impact possible but underscores the distance and depth of the work yet to come.
“A fundamental cross-sector re-design of the wider community healthcare system has the potential to transform care, not only for people experiencing homelessness, but for millions more who live in precarious housing and with other social deprivations,” said ICHA Medical Director Dr. Andrew Bond.
ICHA’s unique and innovative model of care is virtually networked, outreach oriented, inter-professional and cross sectoral. This approach drives ICHA’s commitments to eliminating barriers to healthcare access and maximizing health impact through the simultaneous deployment of downstream-upstream interventions: caring for the downstream medical needs of clients while working together with intersectoral partners to deliver immediate upstream change on the social determinants of health.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ICHA has transformed itself from a physician services organization into a robust interdisciplinary team that now has over 100 doctors and 80 nurses providing care at 55 sites across the city and most recently at COVID-19 recovery isolation centres.
Since April, more than 830 people experiencing homelessness have been supported by ICHA’s interdisciplinary nursing and physician teams, including on-call psychiatry, substance use, and pediatric supports, delivered collaboratively with peer support workers and case managers. Through a partnership with community health and social support agencies, the hospital sector, and the City of Toronto, ICHA’s teams at the COVID-19 recovery isolation centres provide safety, caring support, dignity, respite and advocacy as they work to transition as many people as possible to housing or further hotels upon discharge.
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) has been instrumental in helping ICHA shift to providing inter-professional care as part of its provincially funded COVID-19 response for people experiencing homelessness. RNAO’s ViaNurse program connected ICHA to the immense numbers of dedicated and inspiring nurses from across the province who answered the call to support people impacted by COVID-19.
Dr. Bond congratulated the other Future Innovator Award recipients, honourable mentions, and all organizations and individuals working to bring social, professional and technical innovations to healthcare in Ontario. He also praised The Change Foundation for its seminal work on the invaluable healthcare improvement contributions made by patients and caregivers – our partners in care.
For more information, please contact: Sine MacKinnon, Director of Communications, ICHA, 647.201.7369. firstname.lastname@example.org
ICHA's Position Statement on the National Housing Strategy: A Place to Call Home
On November 22, 2017 the Government of Canada released its first ever National Housing Strategy, A Place to Call Home. Importantly, the strategy is explicitly framed as a rights-based approach to housing that will affirm the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
In response to the Government of Canada’s calls for public consultation on its National Housing Strategy, and with the full support of the Board of Directors, we are pleased to share with you ICHA’s position statement entitled Just Healthy Housing: Housing Rights Depend on Health Rights and the Prioritization of Homelessness.
We are very pleased that the just released Final Report of the Advisory Committee on Homelessness echoes many of ICHA’s concerns. ICHA, however, goes much further in highlighting the place of the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health within the right to adequate housing itself and calls for Indigenous self-determination within both the health and social housing sectors. While we await the imminent release of a newly developed Federal Homeless Partnering Strategy, we are mindful that, though this may be helpful in many important ways, the rights-based approach to housing espoused by the Government of Canada establishes that the foundation of homelessness prevention and mitigation rests in general housing policy and legislation itself.
Dr. Andrew J Bond. ICHA Medical Director