Monday, May 15, 2017

Veterans Are Homeless in Canada Too

VETS Canada puts boots on the ground to help homeless veterans
Calgary Herald
Alanna Smith
Published on: May 14, 2017
Shortly after the brief interaction, Lowther and his wife began VETS Canada in 2010, on a mission to raise awareness and end homelessness for veterans. In 2014, they were awarded a contract by Veterans Affairs to be an approved service provider for veteran outreach.
A sharp contrast between military service and civilian life is leaving some veterans vulnerable to homelessness.

That’s why the Calgary division of VETS Canada is offering ground support during the second-annual Coast to Coast Tour of Duty, in which volunteers walk the streets in 17 Canadian cities to locate and aid homeless and at-risk veterans.

“I think they just want to feel like part of our society and feel proud about what they have accomplished in the forces. That’s what it’s all about, making sure they are taken care of and that they know we appreciate everything they’ve done, not just once a year on Nov. 11, but all year round,” said Steve Gilliss, lead of Calgary’s VETS Canada chapter.

When a volunteer locates a veteran who has accepted help, they are immediately moved off the street to a motel or hotel. Then they are given a needs assessment, which identifies when they served and what social programs they might be entitled to, including benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada.

The veterans are also connected to health care, mental health representatives and addictions support, if needed. Volunteers also offer support in finding employment and housing options.
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