When people in Timmins who work with the homeless set out with a program called Housing Now” there were doubts it would work.

But 28 of the 30 people who were put up at the Northern College residence because of the pandemic are now living in apartments. The other two are waiting to find theirs.

That success story is a source of pride for Brian Marks, CAO of the Cochrane District District Social Services Administration Board.

He admits that it was shooting high.

“Ending homelessness is shooting high,” he remarks. “and I think for people to really understand what it will take to end homelessness, I think we can use this example as something to build on.”

Marks adds that with mental illness and substance abuse being the root of the vast majority of homelessness, the trend has to be away from the offering support, Monday-to-Friday, eight-to-four.

“It doesn’t work like that,” he concludes. “We need to focus on the issues that actually exist in the population and figure out the service model that will end the reliance on substance, and create some meaningful outcomes.”

Through Housing Now, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Living Space shelter offer outreach services to help the formerly homeless succeed as tenants.