An estimated 3,500 to 5,000 veterans are currently homeless in Canada. The Homes for Heroes Foundation is set to change that.
Across the world, soldiers are glorified and praised for their service to their countries. However, little is done to offer support to them once they have completed active duty. As a result, many experience mental illnesses such as PTSD, physical ailments, or homelessness with no legal or institutional recourse. It is estimated that there are about 3,500 to 5,000 homeless veterans in Canada at present. This is simply not done. Therefore, in an effort to provide systemic and structural support to the individuals who have served their nation, our neighbor Canada recently built the first-of-its-kind tiny house village. The project is intended to reduce rampant veteran homelessness in Canada and help veterans get back on their feet, Good News Network reports.
Named the "Homes for Heroes" village in Calgary and featuring 15 houses thus far, the small community will provide housing for more than a dozen former members of the Canadian Armed Forces who were forced into homelessness after their active services. It is the first community of its kind as the country's first-ever housing complex built exclusively to provide shelter to homeless veterans. The very excited residents are all set to move into their new homes over the weekend, according to Good News Network.
All 15 houses come equipped with cable and internet, fully-functioning kitchens, and outdoor decks. In addition to this, the community itself has been developed keeping in mind the unique needs of former armed forces members. Therefore, the community will have on-site resources such as mental health support, counseling, career training, mentoring, case management, and even community gardens. Nonetheless, this is temporary housing to help tenants get back on their feet and should not be thought of as a permanent "hand-out." Needless to say, the Homes for Heroes village is exactly what these veterans need in order to kickstart a new beginning to their lives.
Homes for Heroes Foundation president and co-founder David Howard said of the project, "Our team at the Homes For Heroes Foundation has met with hundreds of veterans who are in crisis and experiencing homelessness. 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... I expect this to end the issue of veterans experiencing homelessness and I think we can do that within a 12 to 13 year period."
The village was built by ATCO, a Calgary-based global provider of integrated energy, housing, transportation and infrastructure solutions, thanks to a $1.5 million in-kind donation. While this is the first community of its kind to be built in Canada, there is still more to be done. With this in mind, the Homes for Heroes Foundation has already initiated land agreements for similar communities in the Edmonton and Ontario regions. Hopefully, these communities will help eradicate veteran homelessness and display, through structural change, the deep appreciation nations have towards their veterans.