Michael Pounder calls a temporary shelter bed at Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission home.
The 65-year-old served with NATO for five years, much of that time in Germany.
A proud Canadian who served his country now feels abandoned.
“The whole process is very cumbersome and moves very slowly,” Pounder said. “And I think that frustrates a lot of veterans and they give up quite easily in seeking the help they need.”
READ MORE: Veterans Affairs Minister vows to change the way Canada treats vets
John Oakley understands that struggle. For two years, the former Armed Forces member lived beneath a highway overpass, battling addiction and his own pride.
“I was too stubborn to go to shelters or food lines and stuff like that,” he said.
The number of homeless veterans identified by Ottawa has jumped in recent years, from just 35 in 2009 to more than 200 in 2013.
READ MORE: Army suicide rate 3 times higher than other branches of Canadian military
The true figure is believed to be much higher.
“I think a lot of it has to do with mental health,” Pounder said. “A lot of veterans have issues–we all fight our demons–and some are able to speak for themselves and others are not.”
“I will not go under a bridge. The Union Gospel Mission has been very helpful and that’s huge. But again I believe you can only be helped if you want to help yourself.”
With a new government in power there is hope that this Remembrance Day will be the last time some Canadian veterans feel forgotten.
-With files from Jordan Armstrong