With a new annual $1 million emergency fund announced recently in the federal budget, Veterans Affairs Canada will be able to better help veterans with issues they face after leaving the service.
"To get a veteran off the street — hey may have mental health issues but not caused by their service, or maybe it's addiction issues that came after they left the service," said Michel Doiron, the assistant deputy minister for service delivery at Veterans Affairs Canada.
"We find them. We know they're a veteran but we have no programming to put them in a hotel room and try to get them back on their feet. And this fund will allow us, or will give us that flexibility, to address those unique needs that these individuals have."
$4 million over four years
Doiron said the new fund — $4 million over four years — will be a sufficient amount to help veterans.
He said it is unfortunate the fund won't be available until April 1, 2018. Even so, VAC has trust funds that provide some help to veterans in the meantime. Also, the Canadian Armed Forces has non-public funds that can help.
Doiron added that homelessness and other issues facing veterans isn't solely a big city problem. Veterans on the Island are also dealing with those issues and need help.
"The reality is there are some, and this will help."
Doiron also said that another program — the Veteran Family Program — is expanding from the initial pilot project of seven military family resource centres to all 32 in Canada, including the one in P.E.I. The program is intended to help medically-released veterans with programs and services, such as child care and employment.
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