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As the cost-of-living crisis deepens, we welcome any action to prevent the very real possibility of more people ending up homeless on our streets.
Since the start of the pandemic, charities have seen a rise in the number of homeless Armed Forces veterans seeking their help – some report an increase of 50%. We are also seeing people with more severe and complex needs.
When someone has served their country, the least we can do is support them when they make the move back to civilian life. Yet every year thousands of veterans end up sleeping rough, sofa surfing or living in unsuitable hostels because they’re unable to access housing and slip through the net. The cost-of-living crisis will only make the situation worse.
The Armed Forces Covenant states that anyone who has served should face no disadvantage and that veterans who are especially vulnerable should be prioritised for support.
It’s vital that when someone needs help with housing, they are asked whether they’ve served in the Forces. If they have, this should be recorded. Once identified, they can be directed towards support that’s available.
We are concerned that without action, things will get much worse. A more coordinated approach between local authorities, housing providers, homelessness charities and veterans’ organisations is needed.
No one wants to see more veterans on our streets this winter. Those that have served, often through the most trying of times, deserve better.
Richard Gammage, No Homeless Veterans Campaign (www.nohomelessveterans.org.uk )
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