Search To Find Homeless Veterans Enters Third Year

The Windsor leg of the third annual Coast to Coast Tour of Duty is underway and organizers hope to find and help homeless veterans get back on their feet.

Kathleen Ganley and a dozen volunteers gathered at Royal Canadian Legion Branch 255 on Wyandotte St. E. before hitting the streets to find those in need Saturday. Volunteers in 21 cities across Canada are participating in the outreach program this year.

Ganley is southwestern Ontario Field Operations Manager for Vets Canada, she tells AM800 News her organization has the ability to cut through red-tape.

"What we can do is give them shelter, food and clothing immediately, we don't have to go through any process," she says. "If I find a veteran today we can get whatever we can go to get him or her off the street."

Ganley says coming from a culture that encourages mental and physical toughness makes it difficult for many veterans to seek help.

"The transition from military life to civilian life can be very daunting. A lot of them have trauma from their service and then one leads to the other and leads to family breakdowns, alcohol and other addictions," says Ganley.

A veteran herself, Ganley says fellow service-members tend to get through to veterans when they've been refusing to use the safety-net waiting for them. 

"We find that veterans deal better with veterans rather than red-tape and official people," she says. "If you're a veteran and you're talking to another veteran you tend to get to them easier."

The walk has helped more than 3,000 veterans get help since it began three years ago.

Ganley says the same services offered during the national search are available for veterans 24-hrs a day, seven days a week.