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Canada vets get own shelter

Canada’s homeless veterans will finally get a shelter designated to their needs.

The government has announced financial support for Canada’s first shelter designed specifically for homeless veterans.

The Multifaith Housing Initiative is starting construction next month to build the 40-unit home for military veterans struggling with homelessness at the former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe, east of downtown Ottawa.

“This building has been very specifically designed for the needs of veterans, the first of its kind in Canada,” said Suzanne Le, the charity’s executive director. “The issue goes way beyond Ottawa. We want to see veterans houses like this go up across the country.”

With the government’s support, the charity is hoping the project will inspire other cities to build their own veteran-specific homes to deal with the Canada-wide problem.

The exact amount Veterans Affairs Canada is providing to Veterans’ House will be announced this week but the shelter is expected to cost C$11.5 million (KY$7.3m).

Veterans will be able to move in around October 2020 and they will be able to stay at the shelter as long as they want, Ms Le said. The charity will work with the Royal Canadian Legion and Veterans Affairs Canada to identify future residents.

The home will offer shelter, as well as mental health and addictions support. Some of the suggestions brought up during a lengthy planning process involving partner organisations and experts include a fitness room, a meditative garden and a dog yard for those with service dogs. These areas will all be included in the new home.

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