One year ago, veteran Trevor Sanderson was living at the corner of Higgins and Main. He’s now off the street, but can’t stop thinking about other vets who are still there.
“I started realizing that there’s a lot of my brothers and sisters out there that need help and just can’t find it,” he said.
That’s why Sanderson and his girlfriend, Kim, are in the early stages of planning a drop-in centre for homeless vets in the city.
He wants support groups, veteran affairs workers and many other services needed for vets to get back on their feet, all in one place.
“I’ll open my door to just about any veteran. I don’t care what your situation is. I’ll probably end up paying for it one day, but if it helps getting him off the street and saving his life, it’s worth it to me.”
Sanderson served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) from 1991-1993 and said he suffers from PTSD.
“It’s not just veterans that suffer with PTSD,” he said. “It’s family members, our sons, our daughters, our girlfriends, wives, they live with our mood swings and temper tantrums.”
Travis Kelln served for seven years in the navy, but is now without a home in Winnipeg. He said there is a need for such a place, “the resources are right there, the connection is right there,” Kelln said. “Say you have PTSD, depression or anxiety, it’s not so hard for you to go through that red tape and get the help that you need.”
He says Sanderson has given him a somewhere to stay in the last few weeks and has given Kelln plenty of advice on resources he can utilize.
Sanderson says veteran advocate groups have told him there are around 50-75 homeless vets in Winnipeg, but estimates there are many more they don’t know about, meaning that number could be higher.
“This isn’t about me, this isn’t about any one veteran or any one group, this is about all of us,” he said.
Sanderson is working on a business plan and says he will soon ask all three levels of government for funding.
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