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Sometimes A Pebble Makes a Big Splash

As a child, growing up in rural New Brunswick, we would often get a chance to throw rocks in the river. As I matured, I began to realize that a small pebble tossed in the flat water would create ripple after ripple after ripple.

At Ottawa Innercity Ministries, I have the privilege of working with our Innercity Veterans Outreach and Support (IVOS) program. Everyday we help veterans in a multitude of small ways; providing information, checking in to see how one is doing, hosting our regular meeting, contacting other agencies for further support, and giving one-on-one support. By themselves, the impact is not very large, but taken in totality, IVOS is making an difference for the veterans in our city. Just like that pebble, IVOS ripples continue to impact our community long after the initial “toss”.

How great an impact we make was magnified for me recently when we were asked to host a special announcement by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Ministry of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion. On April 27, Federal Ministers, MPs, their staff, media as well as representatives from various agencies working with veterans all gathered at Ottawa Innercity Ministries.

Hosted by Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi, Federal Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, Lawrence MacAulay, introduced this federal initiative for a new program to help some of the thousands of veterans across Canada experiencing homelessness. The main announcement was by Federal Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, Amed Hussen, who stated that there would be, “A new program specifically designed to address the unique needs of veterans who are at risk of, or who are already experiencing homelessness."

This program will deliver $79.1 million over five years, including grants to organizations serving veterans. The fund is intended to provide money for rent supplements, services like counselling, substance abuse treatments, and research on veteran homelessness.

Although we were only the host location for this amazing announcement, it demonstrated to me that what sometimes feels like many little ways to help veterans, led to OIM and IVOS being recognized by those overseeing veteran causes in our government as an organization and program helping at risk veterans in the greater Ottawa community.

I am so grateful to be an integral part, along with our amazing and dedicated volunteers, of making a daily difference in the lives of our often overlooked at risk and homeless veterans. It filled my heart with joy to know that our “little pebble” is making a “big splash” in the lives of so many of our very vulnerable veterans.

If you would like to know more about OIM’s remarkable IVOS program, please click here.

~Elizabeth – IVOS Support

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