Veteran homelessness is a significant problem. In Ottawa alone, Soldiers Helping Soldiers has encountered over 375 homeless veterans over the past 3 years, and the Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) reported more than 600 veterans are currently living on the streets, many struggling with physical health, mental health and addiction issues. The City of Ottawa has recognized homelessness amongst veterans as an issue requiring swift action. In response, a group of organizations, led by MHI, have come together to develop a housing complex with support services specifically for homeless and at risk veterans and their families.
Veterans’ House: the Andy Carswell Building will address the lack of affordable housing for veterans in Ottawa through a supportive housing model. Our Ottawa Division has donated $500,000 to MHI and Governor General’s Foot Guards Regimental Association (GGFG). Of that donation, $400,000 will be channelled into the Veterans’ House – Heroes’ Welcome campaign to build the three-storey 40-unit supportive housing facility at the former CFB Rockcliffe Air Base, and $100,000 will help fund the GGFG’s annual commitment to provide immediate assistance to homeless veterans in Ottawa.
Ottawa Division CEO Capt(N) Paul A. Guindon (Ret’d) said, “Commissionaires Ottawa’s social mandate includes a focus to support and give back to veterans. For the most vulnerable veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, Veterans’ House will help get them off the streets and into safe, stable and affordable housing. Whether they can eventually return to work or not, we want to do our part to show them their community cares and values their years of service to our country.”
It is expected that veterans will be able to move into the new housing units sometime around October 2020.
Executive Director of Multifaith Housing Initiative Suzanne Le with Ottawa Division Director of Human Resources and Shared Services Michel Charron at the Cornerstone Laying Ceremony for Veterans’ House: the Andy Carswell Building located at the former CFB Rockcliffe Air Base in Ottawa.