OTTAWA, Oct. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today met with community, private and public sector leaders from across Canada at the inaugural National Conference on Ending Homelessness. The conference, hosted by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, brought together policy makers, funders, researchers, advocates, community leaders and front-line workers to address the issue of homelessness in Canada.
"One homeless Veteran on the streets is one too many. That's why the Government of Canada is working to prevent and reduce homelessness among Veterans," said Minister Fantino. "Our Government is working hard to build new partnerships to help ensure homeless Veterans and those who are at risk of becoming homeless are getting the care and support they need."
"Our Government is committed to working with our partners to address this complex issue," said the Honourable Candice Bergen, Minister of State (Social Development). "We will work with Veterans Affairs to help provide our homeless Veterans with greater access to the assistance and services that they require."
Over the past several years, Veterans Affairs Canada has provided information on its programs and services to approximately 200 community organizations that support homeless and at-risk Veterans in more than 50 cities across the country. Veterans Affairs Canada is also involved with outreach initiatives in Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary, Montréal, Toronto and Ottawa in partnership with Veterans' and community organizations.
Veterans Affairs Canada has an emergency fund to assist Veterans in meeting urgent needs for which there are no other income sources available. Veterans in crisis can also access emergency funds from other sources, including the Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund and the Canadian Forces Personnel Assistance Fund.
In 2012, Employment and Social Development Canada and Veterans Affairs Canada undertook a two-year pilot project on transitional housing and support for homeless Veterans, including assistance with reintegration into the community, in four locations: Victoria, Calgary, Toronto and London. The goal of the pilot project is to help homeless Veterans live independently in their communities. The findings of the pilot project will help Veterans Affairs Canada inform direction on the services and benefits that are needed by homeless Veterans.
Minister Fantino took the opportunity at the conference to launch the new Veterans Affairs Canada web section devoted to homelessness. The page provides a one-stop hub for all of Veterans Affairs Canada's homelessness related information, making it easier for front-line workers to find information they need to help homeless Veterans.
"Through strong partnerships with community organizations, provinces, territories and other Government of Canada departments, we can give the Veterans who have always taken such great care of Canadians the support they need when they need it," said Minister Fantino.
The Speech from the Throne reaffirmed the Government of Canada's commitment to continue helping Veterans re-establish themselves, including through outreach and support to homeless Veterans.
Community leaders and organizations who support the homeless can find more information on the benefits and services Veterans Affairs Canada provides to homeless Veterans or those at risk of becoming homeless at veterans.gc.ca.
Veterans Affairs Canada's support and services offer the right care at the right time to achieve the best results for Veterans and their families. Find out more at veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs