New Montreal program finds housing for homeless vets
Published Friday, November 10, 2017 5:06PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 10, 2017 7:30PM EST
The Old Brewery Mission is joining forces with the Quebec Veterans' Foundation to find housing for homeless veterans.
With an estimated 2,500 homeless veterans across Canada, it’s a problem that's expected to grow in the coming years.
“A lot of them won't come to the resources here, so they'll be sleeping rough, sleeping outdoors, because they don't want to admit they haven't managed,” said Old Brewery Mission President Matthew Pearce. “They've received all these skills in survival training and then they come here and they feel humiliated, they feel embarrassed and we’ve got to lift that off of them because they shouldn't feel that way.”
The project, which involves the federal government at the vets’ foundation –- formerly the Ste. Anne’s Hospital Foundation – is called Sentinel of the Streets. It aims to find permanent homes for 16 veterans within a year.
“The number of people in uniform who end up being on the streets in Canada is just unacceptable,” said Lt.-Gen. (Ret.) Yvan Blondin. “What's being done here in Montreal is actually one of the leading programs in Canada. The Foundation of Veterans really wants to get behind this and partner with Old Brewery Mission to make it successful.”
Research shows homeless veterans have special needs - many are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and require significant help.
“The early research indicates it takes about a decade of spiraling downward before a vet becomes homeless. What's happening during that decade? Why do some veterans end up there and others do not? What can we do to prevent it?” said Brenda Fewster of the Old Brewery Mission Vets Committee.
The Sentinels of the Street program has already helped nine veterans find a permanent home and access to the services they need.
Former paratrooper Laurent Boudreau is among them.
He said he never thought he'd walk through the doors of a homeless shelter, but long after leaving the military he said he was still carrying a lot of baggage.
“After a while, I got some drug and alcohol problems and I got really depressed. I was suicidal so after a while I decided to come here and get some help.
He said he's glad he finally reached out.
“It's like my life is back on track and I don't want to lose it for anything,” he said.