Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada (VETS) held their third annual Tour of Duty on June 9, 2018. The national walk seeks to raise awareness surrounding Veteran homelessness, homelessness prevention, locating Veterans in crisis across the country.
In 21 cities across Canada, VETS Canada staff and volunteers hit the streets to locate those Veterans in need. Through their tireless efforts, this year’s Tour of Duty led to the identification of 29 homeless and in-crisis Veterans. On the day of, 21 Veterans were located, and eight more referrals were received as a result of the Tour of Duty. VETS Canada expects to see these numbers grow in the coming days.
“Hitting the street, boots on the ground, is how many Veterans in crisis find out about our emergency services,” said Jim Lowther, VETS Canada Co-Founder, CEO and President, in a press release issued June 9. “We talk with everyone we come across on the street, and word spreads throughout the homeless community that we are available to help.”
Lowther added, “In an ideal world, all struggling Veterans would know about / know how to access resources for support, but we know this isn’t the reality.”
For that reason, Lowther believes the Tour of Duty and the boots on the ground walks are important, allowing them to connect with Veterans who may not know about them or how to access their services.
“To get the help they both need and deserve,” said Lowther.
Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, and General (Ret’d) Walt Natynczyk, Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, each participated in this year’s Tour of Duty Walks in St. John’s and Kingston, showing their support for VETS Canada’s efforts.
VETS Canada is a national charity and service provider of Veterans Affairs Canada. Available 24/7, they are dedicated to addressing the emergency needs of homeless and in-crisis Veterans. With the help of their volunteers, mostly Veterans of the CAF or RCMP themselves, VETS Canada provides peer support to the large number of requests for assistance. It’s their belief that no Veteran who swore to protect Canadian homes should never have to go without one.