Our veterans play a vital role in keeping our country safe and many have dedicated their lives to the services. For those who fall on hard times it is only right that we give them all the support they need to put a roof over their head.
We recognise that there are limited statistics on homelessness; that is the why the MOD and MHCLG are working together to gather more comprehensive data on this issue. The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) statistics suggest that 3 per cent of the rough sleeping population in London have served in the Armed Forces and other independent research shows that the rough sleeping figures for veterans are around 3-4 per cent across the UK. The same research shows that an individual is less likely to be homeless if they have served in the Armed Forces.
There are, however, a number of existing support services available to veterans who are, or at risk of homelessness. This includes, the Veterans Gateway, an online web and telephone resource for veterans, within which is a housing specialist who has up-to-date information of any vacancies with the 4,000+ homes in the country specifically ringfenced for Veterans.
This is in addition to the £1.2 billion my Department has now committed to tackling all forms of homelessness and rough sleeping. This includes £1 million of specific funding targeted at ensuring veterans receive the right support and guidance required to ensure more veterans are prevented from becoming homeless.
In April 2018, we also introduced the Homelessness Reduction Act, its Duty to Refer requires public bodies to refer members of the armed forces, who maybe homeless or threatened with homelessness in England, to a local housing authority within 56 days, having gained the individual’s consent. A person who is vulnerable as a result of having been a member of Her Majesty’s regular armed forces (a veteran) has priority need for accommodation and will be housed by a local authority if they become homeless.