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Off the Streets of Vancouver


The Situation

Our client served six years in Canada’s Armed Forces, including a deployment to frontline combat operations in Afghanistan. After his return to Canada, he developed Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which led to self-medication, and eventually the issues and complications of substance abuse. Our client did seek out help, and attended an in-patient addictions treatment program. Sadly, he had nowhere to go upon release. When we found him, he was barely existing in a tent city in the Downtown East Side (DTES) of Vancouver’s mean streets. His only belongings were the clothes on his back, a thin blanket, and a mouldy tent.

How We Helped

VETS Canada immediately removed our client from his precarious situation, and temporarily housed him in a motel efficiency suite. A VETS Canada volunteer assisted our client to get settled into the temporary accommodation, and then helped him to obtain a Provincial ID card. Next, we connected the client with Veterans Affairs Canada to apply for emergency funds, and with the BC Ministry of Social Development to apply for Income Assistance benefits. Once this was in place, our VETS Canada volunteer assisted the client to find a suitable apartment and fill out the application, VETS Canada paid his first month’s rent and the required damage deposit. We also, through our agreement with CFMWS (Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services), provided furniture, bedding, dishes, and all of the essentials required to outfit his new home.

The Outcome

While our client still struggles with the lasting effects of PTSD, he is living in a safe and clean environment, he’s now on the radar of organizations who can offer ongoing support, and he is optimistic about his future