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Group Searching For Homeless Female Veterans

Post by Trooper on Fri 17 Feb 2017, 14:40

Group Searching For Homeless Female Veterans


BY: IAN SHALAPATA 17 FEBRUARY 2017

(WINDSOR, ON) – In recognition of International Women’s Day, Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada will be holding a national awareness event on 4 March.

VETS Canada: In Her Boots will feature volunteer teams across the country walking the streets and visiting women’s/family shelters searching for homeless female veterans, providing donated comfort items to women and families in need, and raising awareness of female veteran homelessness.

“When we envision veterans, many of us think of men,” says Debbie Lowther, the co-founder of VETS Canada. “In reality, women make up a significant percentage of the veteran population, and an increasing number of the veterans we help are female.”

In 2015, 5% of the in-crisis veterans supported by VETS Canada were female. That number jumped to 16% in 2016. Many of the female veterans were single mothers struggling to make ends meet.

“We as a country need to recognize that female veteran homelessness is a significant issue, and that each and every one of us can play a role in helping homeless female and male veterans alike,” said Lowther.

VETS Canada has aided over 1,400 veterans in-crisis, at risk of homelessness, or living homeless since 2010. As the Veterans Affairs Canada service provider in the field of veteran homelessness and in-crisis outreach, VETS Canada’s volunteers provide aid and comfort to veterans in need, including endeavors such as moving veterans from the streets or shelters into affordable housing, securing food support and needed health care, navigating community services and resources, and helping facilitate re-entrance info the work force.

http://www.windsorsquare.ca/archives/2017/group-searching-for-homeless-female-veterans/99860
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More female veterans reporting homelessness, advocate says

Post by Trooper on Fri 03 Mar 2017, 17:24

More female veterans reporting homelessness, advocate says


VETS Canada says it has seen a huge jump in the number of female veterans using its services

CBC News Posted: Mar 03, 2017 8:50 AM PT Last Updated: Mar 03, 2017 8:50 AM PT


VETS Canada says it's seeing an increase in the number of female Canadian veterans who are seeking help to alleviate homelessness.

The number of female veterans seeking help to alleviate homelessness has increased dramatically over the past two years, according to a charity that helps homeless veterans.

Veteran Emergency Transition Services Canada, or VETS Canada, is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness by connecting them to services.

It says the number of women accessing its services jumped from six per cent in 2015 to 16 per cent in 2016.

"They just keep coming forward," said Debbie Lowther, co-founder of VETS Canada. "We're expecting that number to rise."

The group is conducting a boots-on-the-ground homeless count in several Canadian cities on March 4 — in recognition of International Women's Day, which takes place on March 8 — to identify homeless female veterans.

Recently studied

The problem of veteran homelessness has only recently been formally documented.

A March 2015 study — believed to be the first of its kind in Canada — found around 2,250 former soldiers use shelters regularly across the country.

Lowther said many veterans fall into poverty or sickness when they return to Canada after service.

"When most Canadians think of a veteran, they think of someone who is elderly — a World War II or a Korean War veteran," Lowther said.

"They don't think of someone young who is in their 30s and 40s and they certainly don't think of female veterans."

Many vets survivors of sexual assault: advocate

Lowther said many of the female veterans her group has worked with are survivors of military sexual trauma.

A 2016 Statistics Canada survey found more than a quarter of all women in the military reported sexual assault at least once during their careers.

Lowther said increasing media attention on the issue has helped women who reported sexual assault to be more comfortable coming forward and seeking help.

However, she said survivors suffering PTSD from their military sexual assault often struggle to have their condition properly recognized and to receive disability benefits.

"It's a matter of having to prove the injuries are related. It's easier to prove something service-related if you were in Afghanistan and hit by an IED," she said.

In addition, she said female veterans often have complicating factors like fleeing domestic violence or being the primary caregiver of children.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/more-female-veterans-reporting-homelessness-advocate-says-1.4008308
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Spin for a Veteran aims to vanquish homelessness among military vets

Post by Loader on Tue 02 May 2017, 08:42

Bill Kaufmann - Calgary Herald April 27 2017



They were furiously spinning their wheels but making progress in vanquishing homelessness among Canada’s military veterans.

A group of Canadian Pacific staff and seven teams of competitors mounted stationary bikes at CP’s headquarters in the city’s southeast, spelling each other off to keep an unbroken chain of pedalling for 24 hours.

The teams seeking to accumulate the most kilometres consisted of Calgary and CP police, Canadian Army, Corps of Commissionaires, British military and city firefighters.

“It’s a brotherhood,” said Dave Howard, president of the Canadian Legacy Project (CLP) which is combating vet homelessness.

“We’re down here watching these guys sweating their butts off … they rode all Wednesday night.”

Their goal is to raise $60,000 for the CLP, though Howard said he expects the teams to exceed that by the time they finished the one-day marathon Thursday afternoon.

It’s funding that’ll support a new CLP transitional housing initiative.

While ecstatic about the event in which each team hopes to cover at least 1,000 km, Howard said the issue it’s seeking to tackle is a grim one.

Homelessness among the country’s military vets is growing two to three per cent a year and now numbers 2,500 nationwide, he said.

“And in Calgary, there are 160,” added Howard, though it’s difficult to reach a precise number. You’re dealing with very proud men and women and they don’t want to admit to being vets.”

Veterans on the street come from a host of military backgrounds, from peacetime and peacekeeping to combat rotations.

What they generally have in common is the affliction that’s put them there — post-traumatic stress disorder, said Howard.

“It takes four or five years before they really start to see the effects of post-traumatic stress and guys on the street start self-medicating,” he said. “They shun their families and the easiest thing for them is to live on the street.”



The CLP, he said, is set to unveil a program that’s meant to end the problem, but Howard wouldn’t divulge details.

For now, he praised CP for taking the initiative on the Spin For A Vet fundraiser.

“They approached us and are totally committed to the military community,” said Howard. “They’ve done all the work.”

The company has a lengthy tradition of supporting Canada’s military and the fundraiser’s a natural extension of that, said Scott MacDonald, CP’s senior vice-president of operations system.

“It is an honour and a privilege to support our Canadian veterans in their time of need as they so selflessly stood on guard for this great country,” said MacDonald.

Donations can be made by going to http://www.canadianlegacy.org/donate/and write SPIN FOR A VET in the comments.

http://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/spin-for-a-veteran-aims-to-vanquish-homelessness-among-military-vets
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Search for homeless veterans on P.E.I. part of Coast-to-Coast Tour

Post by Trooper on Wed 17 May 2017, 05:52

Search for homeless veterans on P.E.I. part of Coast-to-Coast Tour


May 16, 2017


Eric Payne, vice president of Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada, leads a group of about 25 Islanders during a walk to raise awareness on the number of Canadian veterans who are either homeless or at-risk. A government study estimates at least 2,250 Canadian veterans use homeless shelters on a regular basis.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.EI. – Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada is hosting the second annual Coast-to-Coast Tour of Duty walk in communities across Canada on Saturday, June 10.

The Tour of Duty is a national event to raise awareness of veteran homelessness and to locate veterans on the streets or in shelters in need of help.

There will be a walk in Charlottetown on that day, beginning at 1 p.m.

VETS Canada is a national charity and service provider of Veterans Affair Canada. It says it has assisted more than 1,600 homeless and in-crisis veterans since 2010.

“At VETS Canada, we are boots on the ground; locating homeless veterans and getting them off the streets and back on their feet,” said a statement issued by the organization.

“The Tour of Duty allows us to locate veterans in crisis from coast to coast while also raising awareness of the issue of veteran homelessness,” Jim Lowther, VETS Canada co-founder, CEO and president. “We strive to build a better understanding of our mission within the larger community; that help is available. We are here to help.“

http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/news/local/2017/5/16/search-for-homeless-veterans-on-p-e-i--part-of-coast-to-coast-to.html







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Former CFB Rockcliffe Airbase set to house Ottawa’s homeless veterans

Post by Loader on Wed 17 May 2017, 09:19

Canadian Military Family -  MIshall Rehman




The Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI), a federally incorporated charity providing housing to those that need it most, is currently laying the groundwork for its latest project: a one-of-a-kind housing facility for Ottawa’s homeless veterans.

To be built on the former CFB Rockcliffe Airbase Lands, the Veterans House will consist of 40 self-contained bachelor apartments.

But to build this dream, the MHI needs to first raise $8 million.

To raise these funds, amongst other fundraising events, the MHI hosted a fundraising concert on Sunday, April 30 in the Ottawa-area. The Capital Celtic Concert, by the RCMP Pipes, Drums, and Dancers of the National Capital Region, promised to be an afternoon filled with music and dance.

Partial proceeds went towards the Veterans House.

The Veterans House is specifically designed to house homeless and at-risk homeless veterans and would help them gain stable housing, recover from mental health ailments and addictions.

MHI Executive Director Suzanne Le first learned of the condition of homeless veterans at an event by Ottawa’s then-Deputy Mayor, Steve Desroches, in 2013. As fate would have it, not long after that, she attended another event sponsored by Canada Lands Corporation (CLC) to discuss a commemoration piece to recognize the former CFB Rockcliffe Airbase Lands. Instead of the typical statue or street naming, Le had something more significant in mind.

“I pitched him [head of CLC] the idea that instead of having a statue or naming a building, actually having a building on the former base that would commemorate the military history of the base by serving those military members in need now,” said Le.

The idea took root and developed from there.

Originally, the facility was to incorporate 16 units; but after researching the growing need and rise of homeless veterans in the nation’s capital, the number of units needed number bumped up to 40.

MHI has been working alongside organizations like Soldiers Helping Soldiers and Canadian Forces Morale and Wellness to develop a facility to address all of the needs of homeless veterans including a mental health care plan.

From her research, Le has learned that a community-centric approach to the Veterans House would be most suitable for veterans.

“What I learned was that military personnel have a very unit-oriented mentality. They fight in units, they work in units, they really look out for those in their unit. Some of the successes with housing homeless veterans in Toronto is when they were housed together. They seem to recover a lot better,” noted Le.

The Veterans House, therefore, will also include communal spaces.

From working on this project, Le has realized that many Canadians do not realize that there is such a large homeless veteran population in the country.

“It is kind of shocking, but there is, what I would refer to, as a social contract between Canadians and veterans and the military community. We have a social contract to take care of them. These men and women are going out and putting their lives on the line, and they're getting themselves injured protecting our freedmen and protecting Canadian ideals around the world. They're risking their life. And they come back here, and we’re not taking care of them,” stated Le.

Construction is expected to begin on the Veterans House project by spring 2018 latest.

To donate to the project, click link http://(http//www.multifaithhousing.ca/veterans-house.html

http://cmfmag.ca/latest_stories/former-cfb-rockcliffe-airbase-set-to-house-ottawas-homeless-veterans-2/#
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Re: Veteran Homelessness / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by RobbieRoyal on Thu 18 May 2017, 08:14

see now that there brings a tear to my eyes
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Re: Veteran Homelessness / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by prawnstar on Thu 18 May 2017, 11:35

Why can't VAC or the GOC just do something right for a change and GIVE the MHI 8 million. Oh wait that wouldn't appropriate cause some he-she wants it's own bathroom. Why can't we get the same publicity as the LGBTQRSTUV community. Effen libtards.

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Re: Veteran Homelessness / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by bigrex on Thu 18 May 2017, 18:46

Prawnstar, while I do agree that it would be best if the GoC just ponied up the money, I cannot abide by insulting or ridiculing specific groups of Canadians, just because you do not agree with their lifestyle. There may be members who fall into that group, and they, and anyone else deserves the right to read this site, without feeling that they are being targeted, because of something the GoC does or doesn't do for Veterans. So please refrain from similar comments in the future. Thank you.
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Re: Veteran Homelessness / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by teentitan on Fri 19 May 2017, 11:05

Wouldn't this idea be even better if JT kept his promise for Wellness Centre's?

Isn't getting homeless vets off the street part of being well? So yeah give the $8 million to this group JT and keep at least one of your damn promises you have made to veterans!
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Re: Veteran Homelessness / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by Trooper on Fri 19 May 2017, 15:02

Teen,

I think the Liberals have lost it big time with regard to promises, the ones that were implemented thus far were half measured, except of course for the re opening of the coffee shops. I'm still waiting for the biggest promise to be brought forward. Nothing against refugees, but the Liberals wasted no time getting that major promise completed. Perhaps it was because the refugee file put the Liberals on the global spotlight. Where as Veterans are left for the bureaucrats to take advantage of in keeping their long term interest and security in check. I think the wellness and homeless situation is being directed down to the provinces to tackle, another well planned maneuver by the Liberals. Bottom line for me is the Liberals seem to want to go where they can be in the spotlight, and differ substantively from the other parties, regardless of the logic or price tag that comes with it.
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Re: Veteran Homelessness / Topics & Posted Articles

Post by teentitan on Fri 19 May 2017, 16:14

Trooper the phrase used by VAC and bureaucrats is "DOWNLOADING TO THE PROVINCES".

It is already happening with perishable daily living aids. The amount of perishable items is the amount the provincial health care system allows. Retirement homes take on vets and get the vet's monthly payment paid directly to the home.

Mental health plans will give veterans the same treatment to vets as the population. Hehr said it word for word about a year ago but he added "VAC does not want to step on the toes of the provincial mental health programs"

So the wellness centre's promised by Mr. SunnyWays is but a dead idea he will probably bring back up on the next election campaign!
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Awareness for homeless veterans comes to Windsor

Post by Trooper on Thu 08 Jun 2017, 16:31

Awareness for homeless veterans comes to Windsor



In this November 11, 2011 file photo, Canadian soldiers take part in the last Remembrance Day ceremony at Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan. Without the mission in Afghanistan, what is in store for Canada's Department of National Defence in 2012?

CTV Windsor
Published Thursday, June 8, 2017 4:08PM EDT


Windsor will be part of a national tour of duty - meant to raise awareness about veteran homelessness.

The group - Veterans Emergency Transition Services - or Vets Canada – is inviting the public to walk to locate veterans on the street or in shelters in need of help.

Walks will be led by teams of Vets Canada volunteers in 17 cities.

Vets Canada is a national charity - and has assisted more than 1,600 homeless and in-crisis veterans since 2010.

Click here for more information: http://vetscanada.org/get-involved.php

http://windsor.ctvnews.ca/awareness-for-homeless-veterans-comes-to-windsor-1.3449899







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Tour of Duty walk in Victoria to raise awareness of veteran homelessness

Post by Trooper on Fri 09 Jun 2017, 14:34


Esquimalt resident Gary Davis stands outside Our Place on Pandora Avenue. On Saturday, June 10, Davis will lead a handful of people through downtown Victoria, beginning at Our Place, as part of Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada’s national walk to help locate homeless and in-crisis veterans. Kendra Wong/Victoria News

Tour of Duty walk in Victoria to raise awareness of veteran homelessness


Local chapter has helped roughly a dozen veterans in the city in recent months


By KENDRA WONG Fri Jun 9th, 2017

When Gary Davis sees homeless people sleeping in doorways and on streets in Victoria and Esquimalt, he sees them from a different perspective.

Davis, who served in the navy for 30 years, always wonders who that person is, how they got there, what they were before and if they were once a part of the military.

“Whenever I walk down the streets, anytime I see a less fortunate person in a doorway or with drug problems, I always wonder if he’s a veteran,” said the 61-year-old Esquimalt resident, who is raising awareness of veteran homelessness this weekend.

Davis is the field operations manager on Vancouver Island for the Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada, a national charity and service provider of Veterans Affairs Canada that assists homeless and in-crisis veterans and connects them with services.

Across the country there are an estimated 2,200 to 2,300 homeless or in-crisis veterans. It’s a problem affecting Victoria as well.

Locally, Davis is surprised at how many veterans fall through the cracks. Over the past six months, there have been roughly a dozen veterans in need of services who Davis and his volunteers have found through referrals in Victoria, along with several in Nanaimo and some in Courtenay.

“There are people who have suffered some debilitating traumas in the military and I think that those folks need help. I think there’s a certain trust between military people that doesn’t exist between civilians and military people,” Davis said.

“To help a guy get back on his feet is a wonderful thing to do. I wish every case was a perfect outcome. They aren’t all successful, but when we do help a guy out and he rises to the challenge of life, it’s a wonderful thing to see.”

In many cases Davis has dealt with veterans who have had difficulty transitioning to civilian life and often drop off the radar. They also range in age, from younger veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from things they’ve witnessed overseas, to older veterans who have had difficulty making ends meet.

To help raise awareness of the veteran homelessness population and to locate veterans in need, VETS Canada is hosting its Coast to Coast Tour of Duty in communities across the country, including Victoria, this weekend. While this is the walk’s second year, it is the first time it will be taking place in Victoria, with a handful of volunteers walking from Our Place Society to the Johnson Street Bridge.

The Coast to Coast Tour of Duty takes place Saturday, June 10 beginning at 1 p.m. For more information visit vetscanada.org.

https://www.vicnews.com/community/tour-of-duty-walk-in-victoria-to-raise-awareness-of-veteran-homelessness/




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VETS Canada aims to get homeless veterans off the streets

Post by Trooper on Sat 10 Jun 2017, 05:40

VETS Canada aims to get homeless veterans off the streets


Organization started at the grassroots level when Jim Lowther bumped into a homeless vet while volunteering at church


Jim Lowther still remembers sitting in his basement more than six years ago, wondering what he was going to do next with his life.

After 15 years of service in the Canadian Armed Forces, which included tours in Bosnia, Lowther was medically released in 2005. His time with the military left him grappling with post traumatic stress disorder. He spent much of his time not doing much at all.

His wife Debbie and those in his circle of support told him it was time do something. Several weeks in a row, Lowther drove by St. Andrew’s Church and contemplated going in to help out with Sunday supper. Eventually, on his seventh drive past the church, he went inside and began helping those in need.

It was there that Lowther bumped into another fellow veteran.

“He said he was homeless. And I was floored. It didn’t resonate with me. What do you mean? What are you talking about? How did this happen? What the hell?”

The man pointed to three other veterans at the supper, all of them struggling and without a place to live.

“I went home and told my wife, and neither of us could believe it. We looked it up, and saw search results from the U.S., but little information about Canada,” he said.

But as they soon found out, there were many homeless veterans in Canada. Lowther and Debbie conducted a boots-on-the-ground walk in Halifax and found several more veterans living on the streets. Then they heard from someone in Lethbridge, Alta., who was in need of assistance.

What began as a walk to seek out and help homeless veterans has now evolved into a national organization, with an army of nearly 500 volunteers that helps hundreds of homeless and in-crisis veterans each year.

Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada (VETS Canada) has helped more than 1,400 veterans since it first began in 2010. Today, it serves 16 locations across the country.

In 2014, the VETS Canada was awarded a contract by Veterans Affairs Canada. The government funds three full-time staff members and an office in Halifax. Lowther says the government assistance means 100 per cent of all donations can go towards helping homeless veterans and those in crisis.

Tim Kerr, the director of Veterans Priority Program Secretariat with Veteran Affairs, said VETS Canada has helped identify homeless veterans that the department would likely not have been aware of had it not been for the organization.

“They have certainly expanded our knowledge of how many homeless veterans are out there,” Kerr said. “We still, as a department, have a long way to go in terms of knowing the entire situation, but VETS Canada has provided us with an opportunity to reach out and help more homeless veterans than we would have without them.”

Richard MacCallum, a veteran who spent 16 years as a reservist and member of the Armed Forces, was one of those people. He lost his business in the economic downturn, which cost him just about everything he had.

A year ago, he was working in Ottawa and staying at the Salvation Army shelter when he was approached by a VETS Canada volunteer who urged MacCallum to get in touch with the organization.

Not long after he emailed VETS Canada, MacCallum was taken out of the shelter and put in an extended-stay hotel, complete with a fridge full of groceries. He stayed there for three months while the organization helped him secure an apartment, and deal with medical issues. VETS Canada also provided proper winter gear, so he could stay warm while working construction.

“I can’t say enough about these people,” MacCallum said through tears. “The military looks out for their own. It’s a shame that it has to come this. I honestly don’t know where I would have ended up if it wasn’t for them.”

Now, MacCallum spends his limited free time volunteering for the group that helped him off his feet.

“No one deserves to live on the street,” MacCallum said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re military or not. If we can help, that’ll make a difference.”

Before receiving help from the government and the hundreds of eager volunteers, the Lowthers sunk nearly all of their savings into the cause.

“We had so many people that were suffering, so many families that were in need, we had to do it,” Lowther said. “I’ve spent money through my career on some crazy things, but this wasn’t it. This was something that needed to be done.”

The organization says most of the veterans they assist are men who live in cities. However, the number of female veterans in need of help has increased in the last year, from six per cent of all total cases in 2015 to 16 per cent this year.

There are also more older veterans looking for assistance. Last year, 10 per cent of veterans helped were 60 years old or more. This year, that figure jumped to 25 per cent. Many veterans are struggling because of extensive delays waiting to receive a pension from the backlogged Department of National Defence.

Hilary Turner, a former reservist and volunteer who runs the Toronto chapter of VETS Canada, has seen the organization help not only homeless veterans, but those in moments of need.

In one case, a female armed forces veteran was moving to northern Ontario for her studies when her car broke down. VETS Canada offered to subsidize her travel costs in order to get her.

The organization hasn’t just changed the lives of many veterans across the country. Lowther said it’s helped him find his own purpose.

“I have PTSD, a traumatic brain injury, herniated discs, I’m just as beat up as everybody. Until this, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life,” he said. “I was lost in limbo. And then this became my mission. It was like okay, here is your something. Go do that.”

Walter Semaniw, a retired lieutenant-general who helped get VETS Canada running in Ottawa, hopes Canadians become more aware of the help that some of their veterans need.

“Veterans have been there for the nation when the nation needed them,” Semaniw said. “Every Canadian goes through a tough time in their lives, and so do veterans. They were there for our nation, and our nation should be there for them.”

https://www.mississauga.com/news-story/7042444-vets-canada-aims-to-get-homeless-veterans-off-the-streets/


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Volunteers hit the streets to reach out to homeless veterans

Post by Trooper on Sun 11 Jun 2017, 05:54

Volunteers hit the streets to reach out to homeless veterans


Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

Kyle Benning June 10, 2017


Volunteers with Veterans Emergency Transition Services hit the Streets of Vancouver and 16 other Canadian cities Saturday to try and locate homeless former service members (Kyle Benning / CKNW)

They fought once for their country, now they fight just to survive.

That’s the message a non-profit group is taking to the streets across Canada today, as they work to ensure the country’s veterans don’t find themselves homeless.

Veteran Emergency Transition Services is conducting events in 17 cities across Canada Saturday, including Vancouver, in an effort to connect former soldiers who are homeless or distressed with much-needed services.

It’s the second time the organization has held its Coast to Coast Tour of Duty, since VETS was founded in 2010.

Victoria also hosted a walk, along with Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa among others.

The walks are intended to both raise awareness about the problem and to actually locate homeless vets on the streets and in shelters who are in need of help.

VETS Volunteer Wolf Schmitz served as a peacekeeper in Cyprus, and says wishes the team didn’t need to reach out in neighbourhoods like the Downtown Eastside.

“I hope we don’t meet anybody to tell you the truth. That would be a perfect case scenario, but unfortunately, we probably will. And if we do, then we can get the wheels in motion.”

LISTEN AGAIN: Canada’s first Veterans Ombudsman talks homelessness and the armed forces in 2016

Manager John McKenzie says young vets have it the worst because they’ve always had some sort of support system.

“They’re so institutionalized that they don’t know how to take care of themselves when they get out of the army. The army does everything for you, tells you where to live, where to eat, gives you some money to spend. But you can become so institutionalized that you don’t know how to take care of yourself.”

The team says there are about 200 veterans in the Lower Mainland who are in need of some sort of housing.

Last year, a report from Human Resources and Development Canada found there were as many as 2,250 Canadian Forces veterans living on the streets and homeless shelters across the country.

http://www.cknw.com/2017/06/10/organization-offering-services-to-assist-canadian-veterans-facing-homelessness/









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