Today, dignitaries from across Canada gathered in Calgary for the opening ceremony of the first Homes For Heroes village, a housing initiative designed to support Canadian Armed Forces veterans who are now experiencing homelessness.
“We needed them, and they answered the call. Now many veterans need us, and we will now be able to answer their call,” said McCann, co-founder, Homes For Heroes Foundation. “A made-in-Calgary solution for aiding veterans with difficulties transitioning to life in everyday society can now realize its potential in Calgary and across Canada.” Murray McCann
“Our team at the Homes For Heroes Foundation has met with hundreds of veterans who are in crisis and experiencing homelessness,” said David Howard, president and co-founder, Homes For Heroes Foundation. “We wanted to build a program that can help them with a successful transition to civilian life. Our veterans are proud warriors, proud of their service, and proud to be citizens of Canada. They want a hand-up, not a hand-out. We listened to what they had to say, and we designed our foundation around meeting their needs.”
The ATCO Village features 15 tiny homes, a resource centre, counsellor’s office, family suite, and community gardens.
Murray McCann, a local philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder of the annual Field of Crosses display held in Calgary leading up to Remembrance Day, first proposed the use of tiny homes to support veterans experiencing homelessness.
Since then, the Homes For Heroes Foundation was developed as a wraparound program to end the issues of homelessness among our veteran population.
“We needed them, and they answered the call. Now many veterans need us, and we will now be able to answer their call,” said McCann, co-founder, Homes For Heroes Foundation. “A made-in-Calgary solution for aiding veterans with difficulties transitioning to life in everyday society can now realize its potential in Calgary and across Canada.”
ATCO Presenting Sponsor
Presenting sponsor ATCO, a Calgary-based global provider of integrated energy, housing, transportation and infrastructure solutions, provided their knowledge in the design, build, manufacture, delivery, and placement of the tiny homes, through a $1.5 million in-kind donation.
Nancy Southern, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of ATCO, was on hand at the event to speak to the over 160 dignitaries in attendance.
“The people of ATCO have a long and proud history working alongside the brave men and women of Canada’s military – heroes who have given so much to preserve our security and freedom,” said Southern. “That is why it is such a profound honour for ATCO to participate in this critical project, and to provide our veterans with a place that they can proudly call their own, a small but important gesture when measured against their herculean sacrifice.”
Homes for Heros Foundation plans to build additional villages
The Homes For Heroes Foundation plans to build additional villages across Canada and is currently working on a second village in Edmonton. The Foundation is also in the midst of land discussions with cities in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and the Maritimes. The land for ATCO Village was purchased at a discount from the City of Calgary, as part of the city’s affordable housing strategy.
“This is an exciting time for our charity and the entire veteran community,” said Howard. “So many companies, social groups and individuals pledged their support to make this a reality and have really shown their love and respect for our veterans.”
It is estimated that there are between 3,500 to 5,000 Canadian military veterans experiencing homelessness who have been unsuccessful in transitioning from their military careers to healthy and productive civilian lives.
For more information about the Homes for Heroes Foundation and the Homes for Heroes village, visit their website.