Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

September 24, 2010 15:37 ET

Minister of Veterans Affairs Announces Partnership With The Royal Canadian Legion and Good Shepherd Ministries to Help Homeless Veterans in Toronto

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 24, 2010) - The Honourable Jean Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), together with Brother David Lynch, Executive Director, Good Shepherd Ministries and Ed Pigeau, President, The Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Provincial Command today officially announced the launch of the Homeless Veterans Project for the Toronto area.

"Our service men and women have always stood up for Canada's values. It is our responsibility to be there for them when they need us the most," said Minister Blackburn. "Leave the Streets Behind" will help us meet our sacred duty to those Veterans who may desperately need our assistance during difficult times in their lives."

Building on the success of the Montréal and Vancouver homeless projects, the Veterans Affairs Canada Toronto Sunnybrook Office, in partnership with The Royal Canadian Legion, Ontario Provincial Command, and Good Shepherd Ministries, will be working to meet the needs of Toronto area homeless Veterans. A Veterans Affairs Canada case manager now works full time at the Good Shepherd Ministries Homeless Shelter.

"We are pleased to be offering this important program to Veterans in the Toronto area," said Brother David Lynch, Executive Director, Good Shepherd Ministries. "The homeless initiative will improve the quality of life for those who have done so much to serve our country." 

"We believe that we are the bridge between the streets and the life style they deserve after having served their country honourably," said Ed Pigeau, President, The Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Provincial Command.

Over the past year, Veterans Affairs Canada has worked with dedicated partners to establish sites in Montréal and Vancouver where Veterans who live on the street can gain access to a wide range of services and benefits that best meet their needs. Staff in both cities worked with local community agencies to help more than 50 homeless Veterans or Veterans who are at risk of becoming homeless. Some of these Veterans are no longer on the street and have their own housing. They were also informed about the resources and the support that are available to them. 

"This project will also examine the underlying issues that lead to homelessness within the Veteran population," added Minister Blackburn. "Through concrete action, we are committed to helping all of our Veterans and to ensure that no one is left behind."

Nationally, Veterans Affairs Canada made contact with more than 190 organizations that support the homeless. In more than 50 towns and cities, we are ensuring that all Veterans at risk know about programs and services that can help them.

For more information on Veterans Affairs Canada's programs and services, please visit www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

Backgrounder

Homeless Veterans Initiatives

Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to reaching out to any Veterans who may be homeless or at risk of becoming homeless to ensure they have access to the services and benefits to which they are entitled.

Throughout the past year, Veterans Affairs Canada has worked with devoted partners in Vancouver and Montréal to establish shelters where homeless Veterans now have access to many programs and services. We are now adding a project in Toronto. These initiatives allow us to identify homeless Veterans and to help them in the best manner possible, whether it be directly through departmental programs and services if they are eligible, or through our partnerships with organizations, shelters and other community services such as food banks and anti-poverty groups.

Since the Vancouver initiative began in July 2009, Veterans Affairs Canada staff have seen 43 Veterans who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless or affected by poverty. Today, 35 of them are being helped by Veterans Affairs programs and services. The remaining eight did not wish to participate, even though we have offered them assistance on many occasions. The Montréal initiative, since November 2009, has identified 11 homeless Veterans and staff are working closely with them to make sure their needs are being met.

Wounded Warriors.ca has contributed financially to various projects in Vancouver and Montréal, including an emergency fund to provide immediate help to homeless Veterans. This includes clothing, meals, transportation and shelter vouchers. In Vancouver, Wounded Warriors.ca has partnered with Veterans Affairs to rent a suite at the Veterans Memorial Manor to provide overnight or short-term stays for homeless and at-risk Veterans. In Montréal, Wounded Warriors.ca, in collaboration with the Canadian Auto Workers, has provided a support vehicle which allows workers to travel to areas where they can identify Veterans who may be homeless and provide assistance.

The homeless Veterans initiative in Toronto is beginning in September 2010, through a partnership with The Royal Canadian Legion and Good Sheppard Ministries. A Veterans Affairs Case Manager will work full-time from the Good Shepherd Ministries' homeless shelter.

As well as providing real help to the homeless Veterans of Toronto, this project will help us document the occurrence of homelessness. We will try to identify the underlying causes of homelessness and the supports needed to intervene more efficiently in future.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Sophie Doucet
    Director of Communications
    613-992-3465
    Cell.: 613-608-3252
    or
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    Charlene Pascal
    Regional Communications Officer
    416-952-2208