Veterans in Need Have a New Place to Seek Help

Edmonton-area veterans will soon have a one-stop shop to find housing, get mental and physical health supports and receive help securing employment.

MLA Goehring (second from left) unveils plans for a new veterans service centre with Shawna Laychuck (L), veteran service team manager for Veterans Affairs, Debbie Lowther and Gerry Finlay, command service officer for the Royal Canadian Legion, Alberta-NWT Command.

The provincial government is investing $3 million in a new Veterans Service Centre and transitional housing project in north Edmonton. The project will help link veterans to a range of services, including transitional housing, employment and training services and crisis supports.

“Men and women who have served in the military make incredible sacrifices in the line of duty. When the time comes to hang up the uniform, transitioning to civilian life can be difficult. This new service centre and transitional housing will be key in helping ensure veterans at risk of homelessness have the supports they need.”

~Nicole Goehring, MLA and Government of Alberta Liaison to the Canadian Armed Forces

Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada, a non-profit organization, will manage the operations of the Veterans Service Centre. They will also lead the intake process for veterans in need of housing.

“From our research with thousands of in-crisis veterans across the country, we have learned that those who are struggling are in desperate need of a ‘one-stop shop’, a safe place where they can go and receive immediate support and services from qualified personnel and other veterans, without having to chase a referral to another location. That is what this project is all about.”

~Debbie Lowther, chair/co-founder, Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada

The service centre is located along public transportation routes with access to the downtown core, the operational stress injury clinic and the Edmonton Garrison. It is just steps away from an apartment building, purchased by the Government of Alberta, to provide transitional housing for 15 homeless veterans. The Royal Canadian Legion, Alberta-NWT Command, is contributing up to $75,000 to furnish the suites in the building.

“We are pleased be able to make a financial contribution to this project. As we come closer to Remembrance Day, it is important to remember veterans’ sacrifice and their service, but also to look forward and to provide essential supports and collaboration with our partners to ensure that veterans themselves have the opportunities to live their lives fully and enjoy the freedoms that Canada has asked them to defend.”

~Chris Strong, president, The Royal Canadian Legion, Alberta-NWT Command

The service centre is expected to be operational before the end of the year. Veterans are expected to begin moving into the transitional housing in the coming months.