For one out of every four Canadian Forces members, the process of being released from their military career and transitioning back into the community can be stressful and complex. Due to the challenges they face in making this transition, Veterans are twice as likely as non-Veterans to experience homelessness – and female Veterans are twice as likely as their male counterparts to be homeless. In its May 2019 report on Moving Toward Ending Homelessness Among Veterans, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs concluded that up to 5,000 Veterans are likely to be homeless in Canada.
5,000 of those who stood on guard for us.
5,000 who may have paid a heavy price for their service to our country.
5,000 who my be living outside in Canadian winters.
In Canada, that’s just not acceptable.
What We Do
We are building unique, affordable and innovative urban villages to house Veterans during their transition back to civilian life; and, providing a full-service, wrap-around program that will deliver the resources, training and counselling necessary to ensure their success on this journey – enabling them to achieve the goal of living independently in the long term.
Homes For Heroes was developed after consulting with more than 200 homeless Veterans. Our housing and transition solutions were developed by Veterans, for Veterans, and are designed to meet their unique strengths, needs and aspirations.
Housing consists of Villages of 20 “tiny” homes . All homes are inward-facing, and on the same level – their front door opens onto the heart of the Village, and every other resident’s front door. Veterans told us this size and design was most likely to foster peer-to-peer support and teamwork.
Each Village also incorporates a central resource centre, a counselling office, and a community garden. Our Villages are attractive communities, set in a park-like atmosphere. Each is a positive contribution to its host city while creating a sense of pride, identity and ownership among its residents.
Each home is under 300 square feet in size but fully equipped with all the features of a larger home. “Tiny homes” aren’t just trendy, they are the perfect platform for someone transitioning from living rough: a safe, private, self-contained, affordable and manageable space in which to keep their belongings, attend to their needs and start on the path to recovery within a community of their peers. At least ten percent of all homes will be fully accessible.
But housing is just the first step, and not an adequate solution by itself. Once housed, our on-site team, in partnership with leading social service agencies and Veterans Affairs Canada, provide individualized counselling and training programs for each Veteran, monitoring their progress against a well-defined and proven self-sufficiency matrix in order to ensure their success on this journey.
Residency in the Village will be transitional, with the goal of having each Veteran leave the Village and re-enter mainstream society, employed, stable and self-sufficient, likely after one to three years, but only when they have achieved their personal goals. And when they leave we ask them to return to mentor the veterans who take their place – Veterans helping Veterans.
Your gift to Homes For Heroes will enable us to continue to build, equip and operate more tiny home villages for veterans across Canada. Each village will provide 5,000 to 9,000 bed-nights per year for veterans experiencing homelessness. With your support, veterans who are in crisis will have the breathing space they need to embark on the path to stability and self-sufficiency.
At Homes For Heroes,in addition to assisting veterans-in-need, we also want to recognize the sacrifices made by the members of our military, and their families. Each home in our villages will be named after, and in honour of, one of Canada’s military fallen. A commemorative plaque will be installed outside of each home that will serve as a permanent tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the peace and protect our rights, freedoms and values.
Each home in our Calgary Village was sponsored by a Foundation, a corporation, a Service Club or an individual or team of citizens – and their contribution is recognized at the bottom of each commemorative plaque. Based on cost, sponsorship of a home has been set at $100 thousand. Our goal is to ensure that all 20 homes in the Edmonton Village are similarly funded.