New video for first responders to help identify and address Veteran Homelessness

Back in Step trains first responders to identify homeless Veterans and connect them with Veterans Affairs Canada

OTTAWA, Nov. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Veterans Affairs Canada is introducing a new video for first responders to help them identify and support Veterans who are homeless or in crisis situations. The video, entitled Back in Step, highlights the unique experiences and circumstances of homeless Veterans. The video provides valuable insight to police and other first responders on identifying homeless Veterans and former RCMP members, and connecting them with the services and supports they need.

Identifying and supporting Veterans who are homeless or in crisis, and ensuring they receive needed services and supports is a priority for Veterans Affairs Canada. The Department recognizes that policing services across the country are often a key component of outreach and emergency response to the homeless population. As officers are on the streets 24/7, and often build rapport with people they see on a regular basis, they have the opportunity to ask the questions needed to identify homeless individuals who may have served with the Canadian Armed Forces or the RCMP, and direct them to a local Veterans Affairs Canada's office for support.

Back in Step is part of Veterans Affairs Canada larger, ongoing strategy to help address homelessness in the Veterans community.

The video may be accessed by police and other first responders at no cost on the Canadian Police Knowledge Network. It will also be available to the public on the Veterans Affairs Canada website.

Any individual or organization who comes in contact with homeless Veterans or former RCMP members is encouraged to refer them to Veterans Affairs Canada so the Department can help ensure their needs are met. For more information, please visit


"Veteran homelessness is unacceptable in Canada. Veterans Affairs Canada is developing a Veteran homelessness strategy in collaboration with Government, community and national partners and stakeholders. This strategy will identify gaps in existing policies and programs and propose evidence-based initiatives that will focus on the prevention and elimination of Veteran homelessness. The plan is to develop, achieve and sustain a well-coordinated and efficient system that assures homelessness is rare, brief or non-occurring and no Veteran is left to live on the street. "
The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister for National Defence

"The Canadian Police Knowledge Network seeks out partnerships that provide new and relevant learning opportunities for members of the public safety community. This initiative will not only raise awareness about the issue of homelessness among Veterans but will also help front line personnel make positive changes in the lives of individuals who need it most."
Sandy Sweet, President, Canadian Police Knowledge Network

Quick facts

  • Every year, more than 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness.
  • The causes of homelessness are multiple and complex, resulting from a number of factors such as mental illness, substance abuse, poverty, poor labour market, decrease in affordable housing, and catastrophic events—loss of employment, family violence, break-up.
  • Veterans become homeless for the same reasons as other Canadians, and face the same challenges as other homeless Canadians (e.g., poor physical and mental health, problems with social functioning, unemployment, and victimization).
  • Veterans may also experience unique difficulties which lead to homelessness:  exposure to traumatic and dangerous situations in their military service and the struggle with the after-effects of these experiences, or a difficult transition from military to civilian life.

Associated Links


SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468,


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