Homeless Veterans group helps 17 veterans off the streets

Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada’s (VETS CANADA) second annual Coast to Coast Tour of Duty was hailed as being extremely successful after 17 homeless or at-risk veterans were identified.

On Saturday, June 10, teams of VETS Canada volunteers walked the streets of seventeen cities including St. John’s, Sydney, Charlottetown, Halifax, Dartmouth, Fredericton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Windsor, Barrie, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary, Victoria, and Vancouver.

The aim of these volunteers was to not only identify homeless and at-risk veterans and provide assistance but also to raise awareness in these cities of the reality of veteran homelessness.

“The second annual Tour of Duty was a huge success, allowing us to connect with 17 veterans in need of our emergency/crisis support. This is what the Tour of Duty is all about: encouraging awareness and creating conversations that lead to veterans in crisis getting the help they need and deserve,” said Jim Lowther, VETS Canada Co-Founder, CEO, and President.

Hundreds of volunteers and special guests took part in the event including Kent Hehr Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and Associate Minister of National Defence, who attended the Calgary Tour of Duty to show support.

Hehr also announced that Veterans Affairs Canada would extend its contact with VETS Canada until March 31, 2018. The contract was scheduled to expire in May 2017.

“Homelessness can be linked to mental or physical injury, financial instability, substance abuse and unemployment, to name a few. That is why I have been focused on putting the necessary supports in place such as programs to improve mental health and financial security. These programs, along with this continued partnership with VETS Canada can truly have life-changing impacts for at-risk Veterans,” said Hehr.

Since the beginning of June, VETS Canada has received new referrals for over 30 homeless or at-risk veterans. The organization also continues to provide aid and support to nearly 100 ongoing cases.

VETS Canada services include in-person, online, and telephone assistance to help Veterans who are homeless or in crisis with securing temporary shelter, referrals or related support including access to Government of Canada programs and benefits.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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