Montreal groups to get $1M to help veterans
More than $1 million is headed to organizations that help veterans in Montreal.
Montreal’s Old Brewery Mission and Respect Campaign will be among 22 recipients of federal funding for projects aimed at helping veterans and their families.
The announcement was made by Canadian Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay at the OBM on Monday.
In total, the Canadian government will give out $3 million in financial support to projects aimed at improving conditions for the veterans community across Canada. According to Veterans Affairs Canada four areas in particular have been singled out: veteran homelessness, veteran employment, women veterans and mental health.
"The money will be so valuable. What it will do is help veterans who are not having great success become more involved in society and have a better life," said MacAulay. "We're dealing with groups that understand fully what the problem is."
Over a third of that funding will go towards organizations based in Montreal.
Old Brewery Mission board of directors president Eric Maldoff said the money would be distributed over five years.
"With the five year funding we can sustain this program and build it," he said. "There's definitely a social issue of veterans who are homeless, who are suffering difficulties, and it's wonderful that Veterans Affairs has recognized that it's not some other ministry that should be handing out money to people in trouble but that Veterans Affairs is taking this in hand and supporting our veterans."
"There are certain areas of the country that have more of a problem," MacAulay said when asked how the money was divied up. "What happens is the programs are submitted to Veterans Affairs and they're evaluated and we make sure the funding is put into place that will have the best effect."
The OBM’s funding will go towards Les Sentinelles, a program that helps homeless veterans find housing and support in accessing services.
It's estimated just over 4 per cent of those living on Montreal's streets are ex-military.
MacAulay praised the program, saying "they're out on the streets and they understand."
"The people that are on the streets, with a little bit of help, can have such a better life," he said.
The Respect Campaign will use its funding to host the Respect Forum, a group that travels across the country trying to meet with veterans who might not be inclined to open up about their lives. It was founded in Montreal in 2016.
Last year, the organization held meetings in 19 Canadian cities and Respect Forum National Program Manager Richard Martin said the money came as "a relief" and will allow the organization to expand its operations, especially to Canada's north.
"It's going to allow us to do a bit of an expansion to perhaps maybe 20 or 25 cities and hopefully reach out to other groups such as Indigenous Veterans," he said. "It will allow us to keep operating for the next three years and in that time we hope to do private sector fundraising and that will allow us to increase our activity levels."