Unfortunately, for many veterans, homelessness is a sad reality
It’s hard to imagine someone who served our country in the military living on the streets. Unfortunately, for many veterans, homelessness is a sad reality. Accurate data about the number of homeless veterans in Canada remains elusive, but various studies peg the number at between 3,000 and 5,000 people, about 10 per cent of them women. One of the biggest contributing factors to homelessness among the veteran population is post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.
Many of these veterans with PTSD didn’t receive adequate treatment to help them deal with the traumatic events they witnessed in the military. Consequently, they struggle to maintain jobs and have difficulty finding things in common with their friends and families. When veterans are discharged from the military, many of them struggle to fit back in with civilian life. Research shows veterans’ lack of support and social isolation contributes to homelessness among veterans with PTSD.
I met James Cardinal who’s a homeless Canadian Veteran yesterday (Feb 24 2020) while out and about on the streets of Calgary. James is just one of many that roam the streets of Calgary. He told me about his time abroad in various war zones, his struggles with PTSD and how he was originally based out of British Columbia and lived a good life. However that all changed when he came home from duty for the last time.
He wanted $10 for it, it was one of the few things of value he had left
These days his life is much different. His main aim now is to find enough money to feed his drinking habit. He put his hand in his pocket and offered me his Zippo lighter which had his regiments cap badge stuck on the front. He wanted $10 for it, it was one of the few things of value he had left. I declined his offer, said that I didn’t smoke, but gave him a few bucks anyway. I know you shouldn’t help feed an addicts addiction but it was clear that James had got much else to look forward too. On that note I thanked him for his service and wished him all the best in finding some more permanent accommodation and hoped he would get back on his feet.
It has to be said that in this day and age I find it really sad that the Canadian government spends billions on foreign aid but can’t find the money to look after the thousands of veterans that are homeless in its own country. Something has to change, I think we owe our veterans more than a life on the streets, don’t you?