The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) is welcoming the federal government’s announcement of a new Veteran Homelessness Program. This announcement of $79.1 million in rent supplements and wraparound supports for Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness should dramatically accelerate reductions in homelessness for Veterans putting Canada well on the path to ending Veteran homelessness.
This announcement follows the 2019 Private Members Motion M-255 which called for the federal government to prevent and end Veteran homelessness by 2025, including the introduction of a national Veterans housing benefit. Today’s announcement makes good on that motion, closing a critical gap in benefits for Veterans by providing rent supplements and Housing First wraparound supports.
“As a country, we have a special duty of care for our veterans. The least we can offer them is the security of a place to call home,” says Tim Richter, President and CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. “Communities across the country are already seeing success at reducing and ending veteran homelessness and today’s announcement will accelerate this progress.”
Two weeks ago, CAEH was thrilled to announce that a second community in Canada had ended Veteran homelessness through Built for Zero – Canada. St Thomas-Elgin, ON, joined London, ON, as communities who have both successfully reached Functional Zero Veteran Homelessness. Not only do the successes of these communities show that Veteran homelessness can be ended, they also provide roadmaps for other communities to follow.
“When it comes to Veteran homelessness, there are two keys to success: knowing every Veteran by name and documenting their needs; and ensuring a coordinated local response that brings homeless-serving organizations and veteran-serving organizations together,” says Richter. “This Veteran Homelessness Program closes a critical gap in Veteran supports and opens the door for a permanent and lasting end to Veteran homelessness.”
The Veteran Homelessness Program is based on the United States’ Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Administration Supportive Housing (US HUD-VASH) Program, which provides rental assistance and Housing First wraparound supports to Veterans. The Housing First focus of this program is critical to its success.
Since its introduction, the HUD-VASH program has helped the United States cut Veteran homelessness by more than half. Veteran homelessness in the U.S. is on the same scale as all homelessness in Canada. When the Canadian version is launched and implemented, we hope to see similar results over time.
Communities and organizations are able to apply for this funding from April 28, 2023, on Infrastructure Canada’s website. For more information, click here.