The Edmonton ATCO Veterans Village, a project of the Homes for Heroes Foundation, is scheduled to open in just a few weeks.
“The City’s support of this Veterans village will ensure that those who proudly served and sacrificed for our country have the stability and dignity they deserve and need,” said Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton.
First announced in April, the new village is set to open for its inhabitants on October 1 and will consist of 20 tiny homes, a resources centre, a counsellors office, a community recreation space, and community gardens.
Reducing Homelessness one Village at a Time
These kinds of projects, whether in Edmonton or in other communities, play a vital role in helping to reduce Veteran homelessness across the country.
“I’ve seen the impact they have on the Veterans who come through them, and I’m proud we’re able to work alongside groups like Homes For Heroes who are so committed to supporting folks who’ve served Canada in uniform at a time when they need it most,” noted The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence.
Each home built by ATCO has a footprint of less than 300 square feet and is fully equipped with all the features of a larger home. By design, the tiny home “small footprint” means that less energy is required to operate each residence. In addition, a number of innovations have been incorporated in the building design to increase energy efficiency and reduce ongoing operating costs.
A village is already up and running in Calgary for the last 18 months. In November 2020, it was announced by the Ontario Government that they will be working in partnership with the Homes For Heroes Foundation and the City of Kingston to convert a portion of the Kingston Provincial Campus into a veterans’ village.
The villages are designed to create a sense of connection among residents. The open concept and extensive landscaping are said to produce a park-like atmosphere. A central resource centre and community garden are intended to be gathering points to encourage residents to meet and work together as a team with a sense of camaraderie and encouragement.
Residency in the village is temporary, with the goal of having each veteran leave the village and re-enter mainstream society, employed, stable and self-sufficient.
Supporting those who Served
In addition to being fully functional homes with a community design, Homes For Heroes endorses the concepts of “Housing First” and “Harm Reduction” providing wrap-around service delivery through a team-based, collaborative case management approach. Homes For Heroes partners with Veterans Affairs and local social service agencies to sponsor veterans into the Homes For Heroes program and the tenants are offered a structured, yet nurturing, environment required to ensure positive emotional, psychological, and physical development.
Nancy Southern, Chair & Chief Executive Officer, ATCO, expressed that the women and men who serve in Canada’s military give so much on the country’s behalf and deserve community support, especially in their post-service years. “We have a long history of working closely with our military and the people of ATCO are humbled to be part of a community-driven approach to support our heroes and remind them that their contributions are not forgotten,” said Southern.
A Step in the Right Direction
David Howard, CEO, Homes For Heroes Foundation says there is still a lot of work to be done to end the issue of Veteran homeless, but the Edmonton ATCO Veterans village is another step in the right direction. He continued, “We congratulate and thank all the Canadian charities who are dedicated to helping the women and men who proudly served Canada. Together we will end the cycle of Veteran homelessness.”
Partnering for Heroes
PCL Construction has been working with Homes For Heroes over the past several months planning the Edmonton project. PCL has been a partner on the development and construction with Homes For Heroes since 2018 with the successful opening of the first village in Calgary. “In partnership with ATCO and our other trade contractors, we are proud to be part of the Homes For Heroes village in Edmonton which will support their mission to integrate our homeless Canadian military veterans into the community,” stated Jason Portas, Vice President and District Manager at PCL Construction.
About Homes For Heroes Foundation
Homes For Heroes Foundation is a Canadian registered charity, building tiny home villages, with wrap-around social services, to help Veterans reintegrate to civilian life. The Home For Heroes Foundation mission is to end the issue of Veteran homelessness in Canada.
Homes For Heroes Foundation is a Canadian registered charity, building tiny home villages, with wrap-around social services, to help Veterans reintegrate to civilian life.
In response to the growing number of Canadian Veterans who are facing a crisis as they return to civilian life and find themselves on a path to homelessness, the Homes For Heroes Foundation was developed. More than 5,000 Veterans are homeless and living on the streets in Canada.
“Homes for Heroes offer accommodation, comradeship and the highest standards of care in recognition of our homeless veterans’ loyal service to the nation. We want to give them something they can stay in, call it their own, and then socialize and re-integrate at their own pace. Any former soldier, sailor and aviator who is facing homelessness deserves Canada’s support,” stated Stephen Lacroix, Brigadier-General (retired) and Honorary Chair Homes For Heroes Foundation.