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A New Home for Christmas


The Situation

This Veteran spent 37 years in the RCMP. He went through a marriage breakdown and was living with some people who he thought were his friends but as it turned out they were stealing from him, including his pension cheques. After that came to light, sadly, this Veteran found himself living on the streets, in a shelter, where he stayed for two years. Unfortunately, this Veteran also struggled with alcohol abuse but managed to attend a recovery program and remain sober while still living in the shelter. This Veteran was fortunate to have a pension from his service that would help him with his move from the streets, he just needed the right people to guide him and assist him with the process.

How We helped

VETS Canada’s Ottawa team, led by Lt-Gen. (Ret’d) Walter Semianiw, was conducting their inaugural walkabout of the streets and shelters when they encountered this Veteran. The Ottawa team volunteers explained who we are and what we do and asked the Veteran if he would like some assistance. He accepted the offer of help and VETS Canada immediately arranged to temporarily house him in a hotel efficiency suite and purchased grocery cards. Over the next nine days, the Ottawa team volunteers met with the Veteran daily and took him for a haircut and a beard trim, shopping for some new clothes and to look at some apartments. Most importantly, they provided him with much needed peer support and reassurance that he was going to get his life back on track.



A visit to the Barber with VETS Canada volunteer, Kelly Williamson (back right)







The Outcome

With the help of VETS Canada’s Ottawa Team volunteers, this Veteran was able to move into a furnished apartment nine days after we initially met him and two days before Christmas. He continues to live in his comfortable little apartment where our volunteers visit him regularly. The dedicated Ottawa Team volunteers also continue to assist this Veteran by taking him to his medical appointments. The Ottawa volunteers were able to connect with this Veteran’s family who are very grateful for VETS Canada’s assistance and very relieved that their family member is safely off of the streets and now has hope for a brighter future.