Homes For Heroes Foundation opened its first village in Calgary in November 2019. 908 ATCO Village came together through the amazing support of local companies such as ATCO, PCL Construction, CP Rail, Cooper-Key Foundation, McCann Family Foundation, Canadian Legacy Project, Calgary Poppy Fund, Veterans Affairs, CHMC and many more. With a total of 15 tiny homes built by ATCO, the Village offers housing and wrap-around social support services for those that stood on guard for Canada and have found themselves facing homelessness.
Homes For Heroes Foundation believes in bringing hope and wellbeing to the most vulnerable citizens through a holistic and client-centred approach. The Foundation believes in housing first, but not housing only. By utilizing external support networks through its partnership with Veterans Affairs, the program assists former military personnel to reintegrate into civilian society by providing holistic support services in a peer-supported, non-judgmental tiny home community.
When a veteran comes into the village there is a detailed needs analysis done to develop a social service program tailored to each individual tenant. Working with onsite counselors, there are four phases each tenant works through in developing a successful plan that enables them to reintegrate back into civilian life. The first phase, discovery, helps veterans settle and become stabilized in their new environment. Psychological intervention, self-help/self-regulation, and case plans are developed in this phase. In the second phase, recovery, and healing, based on their case plans, veterans have access to individual therapy, psychoeducation, self-help, self-care training, and continuous medical assistance. In the third phase, retraining, through Veterans Affairs and the Foundation’s social service partners, retraining is provided around personal finances and budgeting, tax arrangements, legal support, employment support, assistance with finding and securing permanent housing, and training on how to maximize various social support networks. The fourth phase, aftercare/follow-up, is to determine if the veterans are reintegrating themselves nicely into society. It is where it’s determined if they are accessing their support networks and are stable from a financial, employment and permanent housing standpoint. Along the way, The Homes For Heroes Foundation monitors, mitigates risk and evaluates the progress of each veteran from one phase to the next to ensure that a successful transition.
Since 908 ATCO Village opened, eight Veterans have graduated from the program and new Veteran tenants move in. The Foundation is proud of the work done to date, but it is not done. The goal is to end the issue of Veteran homelessness across Canada. The second Veterans Village is under construction in Edmonton and scheduled to open this fall. The third Village is in the planning stages in Kingston, and an announcement will be made very soon on two more villages to be built in Canada. Ideally, the Foundation hopes to have 12 villages across Canada within the next six years.
Homes For Heroes has a small team but they have all worked very hard to help Canadian Veterans in their time of need. The Foundation feels very fortunate to have the incredible support of Canadian companies and individuals who have donated to the builds. It has seen firsthand the love and respect Canadians have for those that served and those that continue to serve.
To learn more about Homes For Heroes,visit the website at www.h4hf.ca.