Good Shepherd project offers help for homeless people with gambling problems

Thanks to a grant of $759,000 from the provincial Local Poverty Reduction Fund (LPRF), on April 11 the Good Shepherd Ministries launched the Gambling Addiction Program, a pilot project that supports individuals who struggle with homelessness and problem gambling. This project is one of 30 community-driven projects focused on helping to measurably improve the lives of those most affected by poverty that received an LPRF grant in 2016.
The pilot project was developed in response to research conducted at Good Shepherd Ministries by the Centre for Urban Health Solutions in 2013. Of the 264 individuals interviewed for that study, 25 per cent met the criteria for pathological gambling, while another 10 per cent met the criteria for problem gambling. The rate in the general population is only five to eight per cent.
The services provided by this three-year pilot program will include: individual counselling; case management focusing on the client’s specific needs and priorities including housing, income, health, financial literacy; a life-skills groups with a focus on issues related to gambling; a cognitive-behavioural therapy approach based group; outreach and referrals; and the creation of a local self-help (Gamblers Anonymous) group.
Gambling Addiction Program staff will visit homeless shelters, addictions service providers, and drop-in centres to offer more information about the Program and to connect with those who could benefit from its services.
Good Shepherd Ministries will work with external researchers from the Centre for Urban Health Solutions (St. Michael’s Hospital) to evaluate the effectiveness of providing this service to people who struggle with both homelessness and problem gambling. Potential clients can be referred to the Program by calling 416.869.3619, ext. 245 or 260.

By supporting projects in communities across the province, Ontario will harness innovative ideas – rooted in evidence – from local, community-based approaches and establish new ways of tackling poverty. Using the evidence gathered from these projects, the government will share best practices across the province and focus on funding programs that are proven to work and that can expand over time. The Ontario Trillium Foundation administers the program.

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