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Post by Silveray_88 on Tue 04 Sep 2018, 1:15 pm

VETS Canada to open Ottawa Drop-in and Support Centre

September 03, 2018

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Post by Mullberry on Tue 18 Sep 2018, 1:28 pm

Support centre for veterans in need opens in Ottawa Staff
Published Tuesday, September 18, 2018


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Post by Forcell on Thu 01 Nov 2018, 12:51 pm


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Post by Xforce2000 on Fri 09 Nov 2018, 7:50 pm

Housing and service centre for veterans to open in north Edmonton

CBC News · Posted: Nov 09, 2018

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Post by Saulman on Mon 19 Nov 2018, 8:11 am

Federal government diverting veterans in crisis away from emergency fund, say outside agencies

Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: Nov 19, 2018

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Post by Highlander on Thu 20 Dec 2018, 3:27 pm

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VETS Canada kicks off third annual Operation Holiday Helping Hands for Canadians in need

The Journal Pioneer
Published: Dec 20, 2018

Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS) Canada will hold its third annual Operation Holiday Helping Hands throughout the month of December.

The coast-to-coast outreach initiative supports and aids the less fortunate Canadians, and aims to ensure those who served are not forgotten during the holidays.

VETS Canada volunteers will provide help at local shelters, drop in centers, communities and will also be coordinating a gift card drive for Veterans in need.

"As the holidays draw near, it is easy to forget the fact that thousands of Canadians are struggling to eat and stay warm, including those who have served to protect our country," said Jim Lowther, VETS Canada's president and CEO.

"This national initiative encourages a much needed dialogue regarding the ongoing issues of homelessness and food insecurity amongst Canadian veterans and civilians alike, while also providing a chance for community members to step up and help those in need."

VETS Canada encourages all Canadians to get involved in Operation Holiday Helping Hands.


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Post by Zephariah on Wed 26 Dec 2018, 6:55 pm

When the army calls for help — vets drop-in centre first in Canada

KELLY EGAN December 26, 2018

Robert Praet had served his country in uniform, and damn near ruined his back while he was at it.

Now he was 74, newly arrived in Ottawa during a cold December, sleeping at the Salvation Army, getting the brushoff from welfare and Veterans Affairs Canada, and running out of money.

“That was probably the lowest point,” he says. “The only thing you can compare it to is when you go into basic training and you sleep in bunk beds. But you sleep with one eye open at the Salvation Army.”

Now, who was going to serve him?

An intake worker took his history, which included almost eight years with the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers (ending in 1967), and connected him with a fairly new outfit that might help. “I had no inkling who they were.”

Within a couple of days, he said, four volunteers showed up, hauled him out of the George Street shelter, put him in an apartment, took him for groceries, and offered continued support.

“Heh. They gave me a new family.”

This story, which took place a couple of years ago, is Vets Canada at its core: doing something immediate to help a veteran in need. The charitable, non-profit organization has mobilized hundreds of volunteers across Canada to help vets who are outright homeless (as many as 2,200 nationally), poorly housed or just in need of short-term financial help or a helping hand.

The organization made a breakthrough in Ottawa this fall when it opened its first drop-in centre on Besserer Street in a converted three-storey house. It now has a caseload of about 30.

It’s a warm, welcoming place. There is always coffee on and a sandwich that can be rustled up, a comfortable lounge, a room with computers and people such as Alexa Pasha to do the intake work and steer the vet in the right direction.

“When someone walks in the door,” says the support services navigator, “they’re not met with glass, they’re not met with security, they’re not met with cameras.”

The answer to “what does Vets Canada do?” is “what does this vet need?”

There are warm clothes stored in the basement, socks and underwear and mittens and tuques. They can provide a vet with a “kitchen kit,” a big Tupperware bin that has pots, plates, utensils — everything needed to set up from scratch. In a pinch, they can help with taxi fare or pay an urgent bill.

Pasha, who used to do social work at the Ottawa Mission, told me a remarkable story that illustrates the organization’s flexibility and its ability to fill gaps Veterans Affairs could never touch.

They connected with a veteran, a new widower, who saw his circumstances decline from two incomes to one, finally ending up in a rooming house. He had a chance for a safe landing with family in Western Canada but had no funds to arrange the move. So Pasha got to work, arranging to have his belongings put into storage, then moved out West, then moving him out West, with hotel stops along the way — all booked, with volunteer connections and emergency funds.

“My job is to be here and help navigate. We make sure they get connected to all those pieces.” Sometimes the piece is a health card or a link to a medical clinic, or looping in established Veterans Affairs programs, or employment help. Or a coffee and confession.

Praet, now 76, volunteers at the drop-in every Friday and takes part in regular BOGs, or boots on the ground, when a team makes the rounds to city shelters looking for veterans in need and spreading the word about Vets Canada’s work.

“You know, there but for the grace of God go us,” Praet says.

When a vet talks about the difficult transition, he knows of what they speak — among other things, he moved across the country after being ruined by the Calgary floods of 2013. He’s noticed differences with younger vets, many of whom suffer from post-traumatic stress.

”When we served in the armed forces, we knew the enemy because the enemy wore a uniform.” Not so with Afghanistan vets, who fought rag-tag coalitions engaged in terrorism with homemade bombs. How could it not “play with your mind,” he asks, when soldiers return to civilian life?

(Of 40,000 who served in Afghanistan, about 12,000 are receiving a disability benefit related to PTSD or a mental illness.)

When asked about the difficulties in making the transition to civilian life, this point keeps coming up: in military life, the daily routine is set for soldiers — work, food, housing — and personal choice has limited scope; in civilian life, it’s just the opposite.

“A lot of my guys will tell you once they get out,” says Pasha, “no one calls, no one chats with them, they lose their peer support.”

Started in 2010, Vets Canada now operates in 16 Canadian cities. It has some federal funding but relies heavily on donations. For more information, check


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Post by Cassey on Sat 19 Jan 2019, 8:05 am

January 18, 2019

New Edmonton centre one stop shop for veterans’ services

By Harley Burland Global News

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Post by Edgefore on Thu 07 Feb 2019, 12:57 pm

February 7, 2019

Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo donates unclaimed 50/50 jackpot to veterans’ charity

By Rebecca Lau
Reporter Global News

VETS Canada Tattoo
FILE - The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo is donating its unclaimed 50/50 prize to Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada.

A charity that helps at-risk veterans is going to benefit from a large 50/50 draw after a jackpot from last year’s Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo was unclaimed not once — but twice.

The jackpot of $8,875 will be donated to Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada, or VETS Canada, which aids homeless and at-risk veterans by providing them support as they reintegrate into civilian life.

According to the Tattoo, the July 1, 2018, matinee jackpot wasn’t claimed following the show, so organizers held onto the prize and made another draw 90 days later. Organizers posted the winning numbers on the website and social media, as well as reminded people to check their tickets.

When that second winner didn’t come forward either, the Tattoo chose a charity to donate the money to, as dictated by provincial gaming laws.

“The Tattoo has always championed the Canadian Armed Forces and its brave service members, both active and retired,” said Harvey Morrison, the chair of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Society, in a statement.

“We chose to donate to VETS Canada in light of their tremendous work supporting homeless and at-risk veterans, and we applaud all of their endeavours to help veterans.”

The charity was founded in 2010 by Halifax veteran, Jim Lowther, and now works across Canada.

The organization is planning to open a veterans’ drop-in centre in Dartmouth next month. It will be the first in the province and the third drop-in support centre in the country.

Meanwhile, Tattoo organizers believe this is the first time a 50/50 jackpot has gone unclaimed at the decades-old show.

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Post by Garrison on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 8:47 am

Veterans 'to get real help' as organization opens drop-in centre in Dartmouth

Jim and Debbie Lowther hope to help veterans and their families transition out of the military

Elizabeth McMillan · CBC News · Posted: Mar 04, 2019

VETS Canada Jim-and-debbie-lowther
Jim and Debbie Lowther, who founded VETS Canada, outside the organization's Dartmouth drop-in and support centre.

Jim Lowther remembers feeling very alone after handing in his military ID in 2005.

The former soldier and trained sniper served two tours of duty in Bosnia before being medically discharged from the Canadian Forces.

He and his wife, Debbie Lowther, have spent the past nine years trying to assist others navigate the challenges that go with leaving the military through the charity they founded — Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada.

On Monday, the group's first drop-in centre in Atlantic Canada is opening its doors in downtown Dartmouth.

"Veterans can come in and relax and enjoy that whole peer support thing that we had when we were in the military. And I know that the veterans that come through the door are going to get real help," he said.

The help VETS Canada offers ranges from food cards to mortgage payments and money to cover rent or utilities. The aim is to give people a hand before they end up homeless.

"The last thing a veteran wants is to go and ask for help and then be pushed off to a third party," Jim Lowther said. "We try to say yes to whatever we can do to help the veteran … We try to offer something."

The Lowthers said it's not unusual to find people on the brink.

Organization assists 16 veterans
Currently, the organization is assisting 16 veterans in Nova Scotia. One woman is now in a hotel due to unexpected problems at her apartment.

Since 2014, the organization estimates it has worked with 300 veterans of all ages in Nova Scotia. Often they're people in their mid-40s to mid-50s, some of whom are grappling with moving forward after physical and psychological injuries curtailed their time in the military.

"Veterans who have kind of finished their career and they've struggled for a little bit and [are] trying to find their footing," Debbie Lowther said.

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The centre on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth will have a grand opening on March 13.

People entering the new two-storey house in Dartmouth will be greeted by leather couches with a coffee station nearby. Big windows in a meeting room overlook the Shubenacadie Canal.

The Lowthers said they wanted to create a space that was warm and inviting — somewhere people could fill out paperwork or just stop in to chat.

"It's important to recognize the sacrifice that these men and women have made. And so we hope that having a place that's specific for them will let them know that we appreciate that sacrifice," said Debbie Lowther, who also chairs the organization.

Help with Veterans Affairs Canada paperwork
There will be a computer workstation for job or housing searches and staff will be able to help people with any Veterans Affairs Canada applications.

Eventually they'd like to have a doctor available in the centre, as well as Guitars for Vets group lessons.

"We're hoping that we'll be able to do some some social things here so that veterans will come and just kind of get out of the basement," said Debbie Lowther.

"Because a lot of veterans that are struggling do isolate. So we're hoping that this will just be a nice place for them to come in and interact with their peers."

VETS Canada, which has a network of volunteers across the country, already runs support centres in Edmonton and Ottawa. They serve veterans and their families who wouldn't necessarily be people who would call the organization's 24/7 crisis line, Jim Lowther said.

People drop by and end up learning there's a program or benefit related to a service injury they weren't aware of, he said.

"Things that could really help them and their families move forward," he said.

VETS Canada operates, in part, to federal funding, but the new centre is the result of contributions from a private family foundation and a $50,000 donation from Hockey Helps the Homeless. An official opening will be held the evening of March 13.


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Post by Powergunner on Mon 04 Mar 2019, 4:01 pm

March 4, 2019

Drop-in support centre for veterans opens its doors in Dartmouth

By Alicia Draus

We chat with members of VETS Canada about the launch of their new drop-in and support centre and what it means for veterans is the region.


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