By Morgan Cook (’22)
An idea. That is all it takes to make a major difference in the world. Peeking into places and empathizing with people that have been neglected, acting upon your image of what is right and what is wrong…and that’s exactly what residents of a city in northern Canada are experiencing: the results of a phenomenal idea.
Over twelve retired veterans of Canada’s Armed Forces have had to house on the streets of Canada. However, no longer. “Homes for Heroes” is a village in Calgary where this country’s very first complex of housing has been installed, specifically and only for homeless veterans. They will enter their new homes as residents this weekend.
“Homes for Heroes” consists of fifteen homes that have internet access, cable, kitchens, and decks outside, all in perfect condition. However, there are more than just homes in this neighborhood. There are resources on-site that will help veterans with other aspects of their lives. The complex includes counseling, support for mentally unhealthy veterans, training for careers, management of cases, mentoring, and gardens shared by the community.
President of the Homes for Heroes Foundation as well as the co-founder David Howard made clear that “We wanted to build a program that can help them with a successful transition to civilian life. Our veterans are proud warriors, proud of their service, and proud to be citizens of Canada. They want a hand-up, not a hand-out. We listened to what they had to say, and we designed our foundation around meeting their needs.” The members of the foundation have been introduced and gotten to know hundreds of veterans going through an extremely difficult point in all of their lives, dealing with homelessness in crisis.
Put together by a global provider of solutions to transportation, housing, energy, and infrastructure by donation (ATCO), this neighborhood will be an excellent addition to the Calgary community…and it probably will not be the first. The foundation that put it into place has agreements on land for even more villages, stretching to Ontario and Edmonton. Their goal is to help in the global struggle to end homelessness in the veteran community, to be of service to the ones who have served.