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.

For more information: Please contact Principal Investigator Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos at Vicky.Stergiopoulos@camh.ca


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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.

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