Everyone’s journey into and out of homelessness is particular to them. However, specific populations such as veterans tend toward specific needs requiring specific responses.
- Veterans may find it hard to engage with and trust professionals who have no military background and haven’t shared or have an awareness of the unique experiences, circumstances and situations that members of the armed forces encounter.
- Veterans can find themselves excluded from mainstream service provision because their behaviour does not align with the ‘normal’ client base.
- Veterans take longer on average than others before asking for help. Veterans often do not come from the area they’re in when they do eventually ask for help, and so fall foul of the ‘local connection’ requirement to qualify for Local Authority (LA) support.
- Early Service Leavers and veterans under 25 have a higher suicide risk than the general population
To meet these specialist needs, veterans’ accommodation services are commonly designed to enable peer support between residents, ‘value-added’ services meeting health, education and employment needs, as well as the underlying housing-related support which allows the additional interventions to work. They also overcome the barriers that veterans face when accessing mainstream homelessness services, predominantly the tendency to self-exclude from non-veteran specific services.
Support for veterans facing homelessness is a key element of Riverside Care and Support services. The Beacon, Hardwick House and Mike Jackson House specialist veterans supported accommodation centres are a leading part of Riverside’s practical commitment to veterans.
Key to these housing services are four main pillars of activity, which are:
- Independent living skills development
- Health and Wellbeing
- Training and Education in readiness for employment
- Structured transition into independent housing
We have an understanding of veterans’ needs as our services have been developed by staff who themselves are veterans, giving our services a targeted approach which is highly successful at engaging with veterans.
Mike Jackson House and The Beacon are funded through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust’s ‘Reducing Veteran Homelessness’ Programme, and Hardwick House has the continued support of Middlesbrough Council.