After calling for changes in the way Local Authorities support homeless Veterans, Stoll welcomes new commitments from MHCLG.
Statement from Ed Tytherleigh, Stoll’s Chief Executive :
“We are delighted that the government is responding to the concerns we and other have expressed. It’s good news that the government is investing to support vulnerable Veterans find appropriate accommodation and avoid becoming homeless. Stoll and Cobseo’s Housing Cluster have been calling for Government action in this area and we produced a Call To Action last year.
“We have been urging MHCLG to ensure that Veterans are part of housing and homelessness strategies in Local Authority Housing Departments. This means not only recording whether someone applying for housing advice is a Veteran, but also being able to give the appropriate advice so the Veteran has a clear housing pathway. Veterans need a far greater level of consistency from Local Authorities – regardless of which Authority they approach. I hope the limited new funding will mean that all Local Authorities can deliver a consistent service to the standard of the best.
“MHCLG should also work closely with the MoD because if some practical measures are implemented to support Service Leavers before they leave the Armed Forces, the work of Local Authorities will be made significantly easier. Government should create a Housing Transition Pathway – as set out in our Call to Action – as this will help reduce unnecessary homelessness within the Veteran community. We recognise that the majority of Service personnel will undergo a successful transition, however MHCLG should work with the Ministry of Defence to ensure that every single Service leaver, whatever their circumstances, is asked about their housing options after Service. Those identified of being at risk of homelessness should be given bespoke and well-informed advice to ensure they have a pathway away from homelessness upon leaving the Services. To this end we recommend that Service Directive 3221 is applied consistently so that every Service Leaver, whatever their circumstances, is asked about housing as part of the transition process. This should also be a key commitment in the Government’s Veterans’ Strategy.
“We also need to address the significant shortage of supported housing for Veterans. Supported housing for Veterans should be put on a sustainable financial footing once and for all. Veterans are the only supported housing sector in the UK where the majority of support costs are paid for by the charities themselves. This is not sustainable and threatens to undermine our country’s ability to support vulnerable Veterans. Given the unusual nature of demand, which is often associated with Veterans who originate from outside the area where they are seeking accommodation, revenue costs for support services should be funded nationally, through a fund established by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. If funding continues to be allocated locally, clear planning should be put in place by Local Authorities within the framework for supported housing funding. This framework should specifically require Local Authorities to consider the needs of Veterans as they map demand and create supported housing strategies.
“We very much look forward to working with MHCLG on this piece of work.”