February 18, 2016 4:43 pm
Updated: February 18, 2016 4:57 pm

Homelessness among veterans to be a top priority for Liberals: Hehr

Liberal MP and cabinet minister Kent Hehr makes his way into the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015.


OTTAWA – Canada’s veterans minister says the issue of homelessness among ex-soldiers is at the top of his agenda, but it is something that the Trudeau Liberals will tackle in a government-wide manner.

Kent Hehr spoke to the annual Conference of Defence Associations Institute meeting in Ottawa, saying that his department has never been equipped – nor had a mandate – to deal with the issue.

He says the department has been focused on the delivery of benefits and other programs.

READ MORE: Is Ottawa underestimating the number of homeless vets?

A recent study by Employment and Social Development Canada found there are at least 2,250 homeless veterans in the country, but the department cautions the data is far from complete.

The figures come from a database which tracks 60 emergency shelters across the country.

Hehr says he’s had talks with other ministers about the government’s planned increase in social housing and how that might affect veterans, but he cautioned it is too early to say what the Liberals might do.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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