Le Lézard
Classified in: Business
Subjects: ECO, VET, AVO

Remembrance Day - Old Brewery Mission steps up its efforts to get veterans off the street

MONTREAL, Nov. 11, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - Building on the success of its Sentinels of the Street affordable housing program aimed at veterans who are homeless or precariously housed, the Old Brewery Mission has launched a number of initiatives targeting this group this year.

As the Mission's President and CEO Matthew Pearce explains, "No one should live without a home, much less those who have served in Canada's armed forces. While about 2% of our clients are military veterans, we have found that many of them need specialized services to be able to overcome years of trauma and life on the street. Our veterans deserve better." Pearce adds that most veterans experiencing homelessness struggle with post-traumatic stress, depression and addiction problems.

A New Program

For the past year, the Mission has been running a program called Opération chez toit (Operation At Home) aimed specifically at veterans who need extra help to stabilize their situation. The program offers them a designated place at the Mission's Webster Pavilion where they can stay and receive intensive support and counselling before moving on to the Sentinels program.

The Old Brewery Mission's research department is also conducting an ongoing study on homeless veterans to understand the development of their interpersonal relationships. Data will be collected and analyzed this winter.

The Old Brewery Mission's the Sentinels program, the first of its kind in Quebec, provides support to veterans who are homeless or precariously housed so that they can find permanent, affordable housing and reintegrate into the community. Since this program began in 2017, 16 homeless veterans have been housed. The Sentinels has a promising 88% retention rate and has become a model for other frontline organizations in Canada working to improve outcomes for this vulnerable population.

Jean-Maurice, one of the veterans who participated in the Sentinels, described his experience this way: "I contacted the Old Brewery Mission after seeing a poster for their veterans program and they've been helping me ever since. They helped me get out of the hole I was in and into a furnished place of my own. I don't know where I'd be without them."

The Sentinels program is succeeding because of the trust it builds with the veterans it serves and the ongoing contributions of the Mission's partners. First, with the help of Veterans Affairs Canada and Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS Canada), the Mission confirms the individual's past military service. Then the Mission's counsellors draw on the clinical expertise of the Quebec Veterans Foundation to better understand the challenges that veterans face. Lastly, the search for suitable, affordable housing remains a vital challenge that the Mission meets through a special partnership with private building owners.

In the most recent census of homeless people, conducted in April 2018, 139 people living on the street in Montreal reported that they were veterans, which represents 4.4% of the 3,149 people in the city who have been identified as homeless.

About the Old Brewery Mission

Founded in 1889, the Old Brewery Mission is the largest resource in Quebec for homeless men and the largest in Canada for homeless women. It provides a range of programs and services at the forefront of the quest to end chronic homelessness. These include enhanced emergency services, health, housing and psychosocial support services, as well as research and public awareness initiatives that contribute to a better understanding of homelessness as a solvable social problem. Designed to eliminate chronic homelessness in Montreal, the Mission's approach emphasizes access to permanent housing rather than temporary shelter space. Every year, the Old Brewery Mission helps over 3000 people to rebuild their lives. For more information, visit www.missionoldbrewery.ca.

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SOURCE Old Brewery Mission

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