Sleeping Rough: Veterans

Communities and Local Government written question – answered at on 22 October 2013.

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Photo of Lindsay Roy Lindsay Roy Labour, Glenrothes

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the proportion of those individuals sleeping rough who are former members of the armed forces.

Photo of Kris Hopkins Kris Hopkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Data collected by homeless charity Broadway (CHAIN) reports that 3% (145) of rough sleepers in London have experience of serving in the UK armed forces.

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.

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 the Help to Buy: Equity Loan.

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 five 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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