Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation
Mr. Sweeney is a Veteran of the Korean War. Recognizing the struggles that Veterans face after leaving the military, Mr. Sweeney dedicates much of his time to assisting homeless persons in Toronto. In November 2009, Mr. Sweeney organized the first-ever Remembrance Day ceremony for homeless or near-homeless Veterans at the Scott Mission in Toronto and it was from this ceremony that "Operation: Leave the Streets Behind" was born. By working with personnel from Veterans Affairs Canada and The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL), Ontario Command, Mr. Sweeney helped to create and launch a pilot project in Toronto that partnered with the Good Shepherd Ministry with the goal of ensuring that every Veteran who is homeless or near homeless finds the help they need to leave the streets behind. This program has enabled the department to embed Outreach Workers at the Shelter who are then able to coordinate the type of assistance the Veteran requires. Since 2009, "Operation: Leave the Streets Behind" has expanded into Montreal and Vancouver.
The Legion has named a Homeless Veterans Assistance Fund in honour of Mr. Sweeney. The Joe Sweeney Fund has provided many Veterans with essential items such as shampoo, shaving cream, shavers, hats, mitts, and socks, in addition to providing them assistance with their first/last month's rent, furniture, food vouchers, and more.
|The Royal Canadian Regiment ©|