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MPs across party lines call for new housing subsidy to help homeless veterans

Last Updated Jun 7, 2019 at 9:20 am PDT

A sign is placed on a truck windshield as members of the advocacy group Banished Veterans protest outside the Veterans Affairs office in Halifax on Thursday, June 16, 2016. A cross-party group of MPs are asking the federal Liberals to create a new housing stipend to help thousands of this country's veterans get off the streets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Summary

A group of MPs is asking the federal government to do more to help thousands of homeless Canadian veterans

MPs asking Liberal government to create new housing stipend to help thousands of veterans get off the streets

Veterans Affairs Canada recommended something similar in early drafts of its strategy for helping homeless vets

OTTAWA — A cross-party group of MPs is asking the federal Liberals to create a new housing stipend to help thousands of this country’s veterans get off the streets.

The motion from Ontario Liberal MP Neil Ellis asks his own government to create a subsidy similar to one in the United States that’s credited for helping to cut in half the number of homeless American veterans.

Veterans Affairs Canada recommended something similar in early drafts of its strategy for helping homeless vets, noting that a rent-assistance program would help veterans quickly find permanent housing wherever they live.

The department wasn’t authorized to provide that kind of financial help but Ellis and other MPs now see a path to make it happen through the decade-long national housing strategy by creating a benefit for veterans alongside one already promised in the plan.

The motion, which has backing from Conservative and New Democrat MPs, also calls on the government to commit to ending veterans homelessness by 2025 and deliver a plan to do so by this time next year.

Various estimates peg the number of homeless veterans in Canada at between 3,000 and 5,000.

The Canadian Press