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New program helps cut London, Ont., homeless veterans population by 75%

The Homeless Prevention and Housing team is looking to hear from landlords or property owners able to offer affordable, transitional or permanent housing to veterans. Getty Images

Significant progress towards ending veterans homelessness is being made in London, Ont.

The city of London says the number of homeless veterans was reduced by more than 75 per cent between August and September after London became the first community in Canada to have a Veteran Quality By-Name List, a real-time list of all veterans experiencing homelessness in the community.

“What that allows us to do is generate and track data… It’s so key because with data, we have the ability (to) use real-time information to tailor our services to meet the needs of the community,” said Kevin Dickins, the city’s acting manager of housing.

Read more: Multiple federal agencies working on a plan for homeless veterans: documents

He says London is now on track to become the first community in Canada to achieve functional zero veteran homelessness as part of the Built for Zero Canada campaign, but a lot of work still needs to be done.

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“Getting somebody housed or under a roof doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is solved… This is a community response to end homelessness,” Dickins explained.

“We’ve seen tremendous success in the middle of a pandemic where landlords, community partners, agencies and everybody is stepping up to make a difference.”

Read more: City of London creates list to track homeless veterans

The Homeless Prevention and Housing team is looking to hear from landlords or property owners able to offer affordable, transitional or permanent housing to veterans.

Interested landlords and property owners can click here to contact the team.

“Safe and affordable housing is a right for everyone, including the brave women and men who served our country,” says Mayor Ed Holder. “(I) look forward to the day in the near future when we can share that we have achieved our goal of zero.”

Local veterans needing a place to stay are asked to call the city of London at 519-661-2489.

–With files from 980 CFPL’s Jess Brady 

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