Veteran homelessness is unacceptable in Canada; one homeless Veteran is one too many. As a member of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, the wellbeing of the brave women and men who put their lives on the line for our nation is a top priority for me.
Our government believes Veteran homelessness should be avoided wherever possible and it is our responsibility to ensure that when a Veteran does find themselves homeless, they have the supports to ensure it is brief and non-recurring.
On April 1, 2018 a number of new measures were implemented that focus on the well-being of Veterans and their families. These measures include:
1. The Veterans Emergency Fund which provides emergency financial support to Veterans, their families, and survivors, whose well-being is at risk due to an urgent and unexpected situation. The emergency fund will provide short-term relief while we work to identify any long-term needs and possible solutions.
2. The Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund which provides grants and contributions to private, public or academic organizations to conduct research and implement initiatives and projects that support the well-being of Veterans and their families.
This work builds on top of our government’s National Housing Strategy, a 10-year, $40-billion plan that will remove 530,000 families from housing need, cut chronic homelessness by 50 per cent and change the face of housing in Canada forever.
The National Housing Strategy will focus first on the most vulnerable Canadians. This includes veterans, women and children fleeing family violence, seniors, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, those dealing with mental health and addiction issues and young adults.
But there is more work that needs to be done.
That is why I gave notice on a motion at the Veterans Affairs Committee to study the causes that lead to veterans facing homelessness and potential solutions to address this important issue. I’m pleased to say the committee adopted my motion. I look forward to working with my colleagues on this important issue and I will continue to update you on the progress of our study.
Full text of my motion:
That the Committee undertake a study of the challenges faced by homeless veterans, the causes that lead to their homelessness and Veterans Affairs Canada’s efforts to address this issue; that the Committee report its findings and recommendations to the House no later than December 2018; and that the Committee request that the Government table a comprehensive response to the report.