Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I'm so glad to have this time, because I have a significant number of questions.
I want to go back to the problems facing modern-day veterans, and the issue here is the meetings they have with the veterans review board.
When a veteran applies for a disability, frequently they're denied on the first application. Then they appeal. They go to the appeal board, and they may be denied again.
The problem that's been identified—and I think you've identified it too—is the mountain of paperwork that is required. For most veterans it's just overwhelming, particularly if they are suffering from mental health concerns. They feel as though they can't possibly manage; they can't fight for themselves. One of the realities is that in my community, and in a number of communities, too many of these veterans end up on the street. They're homeless. In some situations, they slip through the cracks.
In Halifax, we met with Jim Lowther and David MacLeod. They've been doing work on the ground. They've actually found 13 veterans who were homeless and have managed to support them and get services for them and get homes for them. Their complaint was that Veterans Affairs hadn't been able to find them. Mr. MacLeod and Mr. Lowther found these men, but Veterans Affairs wasn't able to. They're operating their support services and shelters with their own money. They're not receiving any funding.
This reminded me very much of what's happening in my own home community. We have a number of veterans. There's been some attempt to study and determine how many there are, but still there is this sort of missing piece in terms of Veterans Affairs pursuing this issue of homelessness for very vulnerable people.
I have to say I've met some of them, and they're very fragile. They need support. They need help. I was wondering, if you were able to make a recommendation around Veterans Affairs and its interaction or support for homeless veterans, what would that be?