The experience that our veterans face both overseas and at home are difficult to cope with. This week, we spoke to David Howard, President of the Homes For Heroes Foundation about how we can better support Canada’s heroes once they return to civilian life.
Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.
Homes For Heroes Foundation is a registered charity developed in response to the growing number of Canada’s Veterans who are facing crisis as they return to civilian life and, as a result, find themselves on the path to homelessness. Homes For Heroes has built and continues to build tiny home villages , with wrap around social service support, across Canada. We have a village operating in Calgary, a village in construction in Edmonton and a village recently announced for Kingston. The goal is to build across Canada and end the issue of Veteran homelessness.
What problem does it aim to solve?
Our goal at Homes for Heroes is to end Homelessness amongst Canadian Military Veterans.
When did you start/join it?
I am the co-founder, President and we started the charity in 2017.
What made you want to get involved?
My grandfather served in the Navy and upon his return suffered from PTSD. He drank to deal with this trauma, brain injury and became an alcoholic. His family disassociated themselves from hm because of his drinking and he went from CEO of a large oil company to a security clerk to unemployed. I certainly did not condone his actions and the pain he put his family through, but I had a hard time understanding how someone that stood on guard for Canada could be forgotten about in their time of need. As such, 15 years ago I started developing programs in support of our Canadian military Veterans.
What was the situation like when you started?
Sadly there are more than 5,000 Veterans across Canada that are living on the streets and very few programs set up to help them. Homes For Heroes is a housing program designed by Veterans for Veterans.
How has it changed since?
I believe we have been instrumental in advocating for our homeless Veterans and ensuring that Canadians know that we have Veterans that are living rough and need our support.
What more needs to be done?
Affordable housing is a major concern that every municipality needs to focus on. Solutions are coming but the process is to slow, and far to many cites are not making it a priority. It is my understanding that in Calgary there is a need for 50,000 more affordable homes. Tiny homes can be easily deployed and offer an affordable solution, which can help a number of demographics, but by laws need to change. As a homeowner I should be allowed to put a tiny home in my back yard and rent it out or provide this to an aging family member.
How can our readers help?
Financial support can be done through our website. Another great way to support our Veterans is to simply thank them for their service. These individuals are the reason we live in such a great country and are able to achieve anything we work hard at.
Do you have any events coming up?
Friday November 12 we have Penn and Teller coming to Calgary to perform at the Jubilee with all funds going to our charity. We will see if COVID delays the show or not. Stay tuned and stay safe.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome Calgary charity that you love?