A Cost-Benefit Analysis of a Canadian Managed Alcohol Program

In March 2012, Shelter House opened a 15-bed Managed Alcohol Program (MAP) at the Kwae Kii Win Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The mission of Shelter House (2013, p. 5) is “to provide basic needs, dignity, and comfort to people living in poverty and stimulate action to address the root causes of homelessness.” At the Kwae Kii Win Centre, MAP participants are provided with permanent access to adequate housing and supports to help manage and regulate alcohol consumption consistent with a Housing First approach. MAP recipients are typically individuals with severe alcohol dependence and long histories of homelessness, public intoxication, and regular consumption of non-palatable alcohol (Hajdu, 2014, p. 4; Pauly et al., 2013, p. 12; Shelter House, 2013, p. 5).

The Centre for Addictions Research of British Columbia (CARBC) conducted an evaluation of the program in December 2013 and found that MAP recipients had experienced fewer alcohol- related harms and improvements in health and quality of life outcomes when compared to their outcomes prior to program entry and to a treatment-as-usual (TAU) control group (Pauly et al., 2013, p. 18). CARBC also found that MAP recipients had experienced significant reductions in health, social, and legal service utilization over a six-month study period in comparison to a control group including a:

  • 43% reduction in police contact
  • 88% reduction in withdrawal management service utilization
  • 37% reduction in hospital admissions
  • 47% reduction in emergency department visits (Pauly et al., 2013, pp. 34-36).

The purpose of this study is to assess these initial findings further by conducting a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of the program in terms of tangible costs and benefits.

Publication Date: 
Victoria, B.C.