Homelessness: Armed Forces

House of Lords written question – answered at on 30 July 2013.

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Photo of Lord Rogan Lord Rogan UUP

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of those individuals sleeping rough on the streets are former members of the United Kingdom armed forces.

Photo of Baroness Hanham Baroness Hanham The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

This Government is committed to preventing and tackling homelessness and protecting the most vulnerable including former members of our armed forces. We have invested £470 million over the Spending Review period for homelessness prevention.

3% of people seen rough sleeping in London who are from the UK had served in the armed forces—down from 4% in 2011/12 (CHAIN data 2012/13).

We are determined to ensure that current and former members of the Armed Forces gain the housing they deserve, recognising the sacrifices they have made for the country. We have, therefore, introduced measures to place members of the Armed Forces at the top of the priority list for home ownership schemes, including FirstBuy.

We have changed the law by regulation so that former personnel with urgent housing needs are always given ‘additional preference’ (high priority) for social housing; and councils are prevented from applying local connection requirements to disqualify members of the armed forces and those within 5 years of leaving the Services from their waiting list. The qualification regulations came into force on 24 August 2012; the additional preference regulations on 30 November 2012.

Our statutory social allocations guidance sets out how councils’ allocation schemes can give priority to all Service families, including through the use of local preference criteria and local lettings policies.

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