What is the STAR Learning Centre? The Supporting Transitions and Recovery (STAR) Learning Centre is a Recovery Education Centre (REC) in Toronto with a mandate to support adults who are currently or who have recently been homeless. At STAR, participants are viewed as members of a learning community, not as patients. Courses include creative expression, nutrition, public speaking, computer skills, exercise and much more. More information about STAR is available here.
What we’re doing: We are evaluating STAR to explore the ways in which the REC model can support the housing and recovery outcomes of people experiencing homelessness.
We will examine the housing, health and wellbeing outcomes of STAR participants over 12 months. We will compare this to outcomes for a group of adults experiencing housing instability who access other programs in the community.
Why we’re doing it: The REC model has been increasingly adopted in jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, largely for people who are living independently and dealing with mental health problems. At the same time, little research has been done on the key ingredients of the REC model, or on participant outcomes. In addition, there is little to no research on the impacts of the REC model for people who are dealing with housing instability. More on the REC model is available here.
Our partners: Homelessness service agencies in downtown Toronto.
Action point: A formal evaluation of the STAR Learning Centre – Canada’s first REC – will address an important gap in the international evidence base and help guide policy and planning related to both mental health services and homelessness.
Chung, T.E., Eckerle Curwood, S., Thang, H., Gruszecki, S., Beder, M. Stergiopoulos, V. (2016). Introducing a Recovery Education Centre for Adults Experiencing Mental Health Challenges and Housing Instability in a Large Urban Setting. Int J Ment Health Addiction (2016) 14: 850. Abstract available here.
Dunn, E. C., Sally Rogers, E., Hutchinson, D. S., Lyass, A., MacDonald Wilson, K. L., Wallace, L. R., & Furlong-Norman, K. (2008). Results of an innovative university-based recovery education program for adults with psychiatric disabilities. Adm Policy Ment Health, 35(5), 357-369. Abstract available here.
Hutchinson, D. S. (2011). The recovery education center: an integrated health promotion and wellness program. Psychiatr Rehabil J, 34(4), 321-323. Abstract available here.
McGregor, J, Brophy, L., Hardy, D., Hoban, D., Meddings, S., Repper, J., Rinaldi, M., Roeg, W., Shepherd, G., Slade, M., Smelson, D., Stergiopoulos, V., on behalf of RCICoP Group (2016). Proceedings of June 2015 Meeting. Recovery Colleges International Community of Practice (RCICoP). Available here.
Perkins, R., Repper, J., Rinaldi, M., Brown, H. (2012). ImROC 1. Recovery Colleges. London: Centre for Mental Health. Available here.
Whitley, R., & Siantz, E. (2012). Best practices: recovery centers for people with a mental illness: an emerging best practice? Psychiatr Serv, 63(1), 10-12. Full text available here.