Social housing to be prioritised for veterans

New measures announced to provide improved access for members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families to social housing.

  • Housing Minister announces improved access to social housing for members of the Armed Forces and veterans suffering from mental ill health
  • Other new measures will ensure former spouses or civil partners of serving personnel are not disadvantaged when applying for social housing
  • The government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran and to ensuring serving and former personnel do not face disadvantages when seeking social housing

New measures to ensure access to social housing is improved for members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families have been announced this Armed Forces Day (27 June 2020) by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher.

The government has today set out how councils should ensure members of the Armed Forces and veterans who need support with their mental health, because of conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, are given the priority for social housing they deserve.

New measures also mean former spouses or civil partners of serving personnel will be given extra support when applying for social housing. They will be exempted from rules requiring them to be a local resident before being given social housing in the area to ensure they are not disadvantaged when applying.

Guidance has been issued to councils to encourage staff-training so they understand the circumstances of the Armed Forces community and consider their housing needs appropriately. This will also promote a consistent approach across councils in how they consider social housing applications.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said:

“The health and wellbeing of our Armed Forces, whether they are Regulars, Reservists or veterans, is a priority for this government. 

“I want to ensure serving and former members of the Armed Forces who suffer from mental ill health are given the priority for social housing they deserve, together with appropriate care and support.

“There can be no better time than this Armed Forces Day, after such a challenging time, to celebrate the skill, tenacity and professionalism of our Armed Forces. Their contribution has been extraordinary and we are all grateful for their efforts.”

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer MP said:

“This new guidance is the Armed Forces Covenant in action – government ensuring that the whole armed forces family can more easily access public services. 

“The unique circumstances of veterans and service families will now more readily be taken into account when allocating housing and I’m proud that we’re announcing these measures on Armed Forces Day.”

Further information 

Armed Forces Day (AFD) is an opportunity for the UK public to celebrate the work of our Armed Forces. Saturday 27 June 2020 will be the 12th annual AFD.

Throughout the COVID-19 response our armed forces have offered immense support, including coordinating the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment and playing a key role in recovery planning

Since 2012, current and former service personnel who have been recently discharged have not had to be “resident” in an area to get access to a social home for their families, as part of our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. Under the Covenant, veterans with more urgent housing needs are also eligible for additional preferences for social housing.

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