Not our usual typical shipping container home but the residence of Claude Lord a former Canadian Forces soldier. The image and story about Claude came to light in a Montreal newspaper because of the issues of Claude getting his military pension that he is entitled to. It was the involvement of a local businessman that helped Claude back onto his feet although today he is still far from life changing except for the ability to collect his $1,200 cheque every month. Veterans Affairs Canada and social workers regularly meet Claude as they try to assist him into finding a normal residence as although I personally am into shipping container housing this isn’t exactly the situation I would ever want to find someone in. The neighbourhood where the container resides has working prostitutes, thieves and also the container itself isn’t insulated and after 7 years nearly all of them in the container Claude has decided to call it a day and find a more appropriate home.
The interesting part of the story though is that Scully someone who works near the container helped Claude work through six months of paperwork to get access to the pension including going to appoints and meetings across town. Scully’s main concern that now all the paperwork side is done and Claude is on the way to an improved life what about other veterans who are in the same situation saying “"Does a homeless person have a Day timer (for keeping track of appointments)? Does he have an alarm clock? Does he have electricity? Does he have a telephone? Does he have bus fare? Is he hung over at 8 o’clock in the morning?”
Claude was discharged from the army in 1979 but wasn’t eligible at the time for a pension due to only serving four and a half years with the First Field Engineers at CFB Valcartier, Que. Scully discovered the requirements had changed though some time ago and this was how helping Claude get his pension came about. Claude suffers with post-traumatic-stress disorder that resulted from an explosion in 1977 which has left him with reoccurring nightmares every day of the events that day which seen two other soldiers killed and several wounded constantly replaying in his mind. He was still a young 19 year old back then and had been working on a bridge at the base when they heard a large explosion. They helped the injured cross the water including one person who had lost their arm.
"It was disgusting _ one of them didn’t have a head,” Lord recalled.
"The boat was full of blood. I’m sorry, but I wasn’t used to that sort of thing.”
The issues in Canada relating to the homeless sounds very similar to one in the UK where there is a huge amount of ex service personnel living rough often with mental issues caused by things they have seen during their service time. I just wish there was more highlighted about the problem to help people be able to help themselves as well as get the treatment many need.