Frequently Asked Questions
Veterans’ House: the Andy Carswell Building, Canso Campus in Ottawa, is a permanent, affordable, and supportive housing community for veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The facility provides supportive housing for 40 veterans. The site is located at 745 Mikinak Road on the site of the former CFB Rockcliffe Airbase. Since opening and housing veterans in early 2021, Veterans’ House: the Andy Carswell Building has grown from offering limited programs during the COVID-19 pandemic to providing access to full support programs.
The Andy Carswell Building includes gathering spaces such as the community room and kitchen, outdoor barbecue facilities); as well as an indoor gym; a dog park for training service dogs, and a community garden.
Veterans began moving into the Andy Carswell Building on February 1, 2021.
Veterans’ House: the Andy Carswell Building, located in Ottawa, was previously owned by MHI.
What started as a pilot project addressing the gap in affordable and supportive housing for veterans, turned into a successful new charity: Veterans’ House Canada (of which the Andy Carswell Building is now part of).
With our shared vision and your generous support, Veterans’ House Canada transformed into its own charity, separate from Multifaith Housing Initiative, with charitable status, charity number, and the ability to provide tax receipts.
The newly formed charity is taking the successful housing model across Canada. Veterans’ House Canada is committed to building more affordable and supportive sites like Veterans’ House Canada: The Andy Carswell Building. Cities under consideration include Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Halifax and Winnipeg. Be sure to follow Veteran’s House Canada (@VetsHouseCan) on their socials to stay up to date with their progress. You can also visit their new website at www.veteranshousecanada.ca
- Governmental partners include The Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the City of Ottawa.
- Non-governmental partners include Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services, Centretown Affordable Housing Development Corporation, Commissionaires Ottawa, Helmets to Hardhats, Ottawa Salus, Soldiers Helping Soldiers, Support our Troops, the Canadian Veteran Service Dog Unit, the Royal Canadian Legion & Royal Canadian Legion Ontario Command and District G, True Patriot Love.
Apply or learn more here.
Several years ago, Toronto resident John Carswell – President of Canso Investment Counsel – made a lead gift to MHI on behalf of the Carswell family to help build a community for homeless veterans. The building has been named Veterans’ House: the Andy Carswell Building in honour of John’s late father, Squadron Leader (ret’d) Andrew (Andy) Carswell, AFC, CD. Andy was a Second World War veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force and was stationed at CFB Rockcliffe after the war.
Canso Investment Counsel made the second lead gift to Veterans’ House in 2018. Canso Investment Counsel is named after an airplane Sqn. Leader Carswell flew during his time with the military. In recognition of the company’s donation, MHI named the site of Veterans’ House the Canso Campus.
To learn more about Andy Carswell and his experiences during the Second World War, we recommend reading his book: Over the Wire: A Canadian Pilot’s Memoir of War and Survival as a POW.
Our goal is to produce a robust model that can be replicated across Canada to serve the needs of Canadian veterans experiencing homelessness. Veterans’ House is set to be Canada’s first permanent, long-term community house for homeless veterans.
According to Everyone Counts: Ottawa’s 2020-21 Point-in-Time Count, 4% of respondents (n=1340) identified as being a former military or RCMP member. Of these individuals, 42% identified as Indigenous. Throughout the past several years, Soldiers Helping Soldiers – an Ottawa-based organization of serving military members who volunteer in the shelters – have encountered more than 380 homeless individuals with prior military service.
 For more information, see Everyone Counts: Ottawa’s 2021 Point-in-Time Count.
Capital: The total cost of building Veterans’ House was $11.5 million. The federal government committed $6.5 million to the project. The City of Ottawa provided $730,000 worth of contributions in development charges relief, property tax waivers, and other fees and permits. In addition, $1.5 million in funding was delivered through the Canada-Ontario Community Housing Initiative, a federal-provincial program.
The remaining funds were raised through local faith groups, businesses, and individuals who believed in this project and donated the remaining funds.
Yes, both men and women are eligible to live at Veterans’ House: the Andy Carswell Building.