People need a safe place to live, which is essential for their health and well-being.


In Canada, finding stable housing is difficult for many, especially for those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD occurs when a baby is exposed to alcohol before birth, leading to problems with learning, behavior, and emotions. People with FASD often need extra help, which isn’t always available, making it hard for them to find stable housing.

FASD affects about 4% of Canadians. People with FASD can have trouble with thinking, emotions, and everyday tasks, making it challenging to live independently. Many adults with FASD live in special housing situations or have experienced homelessness. They often face additional challenges like mental health issues, substance use, and past traumas, which complicate their housing needs.

Many housing programs don’t consider the specific needs of people with FASD. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts, like breaking housing rules by accident. For example, someone with FASD might forget rules or have trouble understanding them, leading to issues with landlords or housing staff. They may also struggle with substance use, increasing the risk of losing their housing.

Despite these challenges, people with FASD can succeed with the right support. Research shows that person-centered and integrated approaches work best. This means creating housing and support services tailored to each person’s needs, involving them in decisions, and focusing on their strengths.

A person-centered approach recognizes that people with FASD have unique needs and strengths. It involves making individualized plans that consider their preferences and goals. This helps them feel more in control and engaged, leading to better outcomes. For some, living independently may not be the best option. Instead, living with support when needed can be more effective.

An integrated systems approach involves coordination among different support services, like healthcare, education, employment, and community services. This ensures that people with FASD receive consistent and comprehensive support. Collaboration among service providers helps address all aspects of their lives, making housing stability more achievable.

Building strong relationships with family, caregivers, and trusted adults is crucial for people with FASD. These support networks provide valuable insights and ongoing help, assisting them in navigating challenges and maintaining stable housing. Positive relationships with service providers also make a big difference. Providers who understand FASD can offer more compassionate and effective support.

It’s essential for housing and support service providers to receive ongoing education about FASD. This training helps them understand the condition better and offer appropriate support. Educated providers are better equipped to help people with FASD succeed in their housing and other life goals.

To improve housing stability for people with FASD there is a need to increase housing options, ranging from emergency shelters to long-term supported housing. Integrating housing programs with other social and community services is also essential to provide comprehensive support. Adopting person-centered and integrated approaches in housing policies ensures that the specific needs of individuals with FASD are addressed effectively.

Additionally, fostering and leveraging relational support networks can significantly enhance housing stability by providing a strong foundation of support. Finally, providing ongoing education for all service providers about FASD is crucial to ensure they have the knowledge and skills to offer appropriate support and interventions.

People with FASD face significant challenges in finding and keeping stable housing. However, with person-centered, integrated, and supportive approaches, they can achieve housing stability and thrive in their communities. It’s crucial for policymakers and service providers to understand their unique needs and strengths to develop effective interventions and support systems. 

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Urban OutreachCentre of
Kelly Grinchard
Urban OutreachCentre of
Pyiya Sharma
FASD Bridges
Prevention | 780-750-9729
Women’s WellnessCentre of
Captain’s PlaceCentre of
Assessment and Diagnostic ClinicCentre of
Shannon Kiyan Clinic Coordinator
FASD Instructional CoachFMPSD/