Riverside was the first housing association to sign the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, underlining our commitment to supporting the servicemen and women who serve our country.
As we reaffirm that commitment with a re-signing of the covenant today, Head of Support Housing Helen Gore explains why it matters so much…
I’m proud that we were the first housing association to sign the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in 2014. I am also thrilled that since it was signed, we have built brand new supported accommodation in Teesside, called Hardwick House, for veterans who have become homeless.
The covenant is a pledge to acknowledge that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated with fairness and respect.
Since that initial signing, as well as delivering on our commitment to support employees who have volunteered as reservists, we have also housed and supported 233 homeless people through our veterans’ services and housed over 900 through SPACES, our veterans housing referral service.
Typically the veterans we support will have struggled with the transition back to civilian life. Relationship breakdown, mental ill health (including PTSD), lack of employment opportunities and lack of basic life skills – such as the ability to budget and pay bills, can all contribute to downward spiral of homelessness, addictions and rough sleeping.
The support received at our accommodation services for veterans can transform the life of someone who has been rough sleeping – to someone who is ready for employment and a sustainable tenancy. We achieve this by focussing on people’s aspirations, on their strengths, giving them key coping strategies and improving health and wellbeing so that they have the skills and resilience for a sustainable future.
It seems pertinent to be reaffirming our pledge to the Covenant as this year is the 100th anniversary of the First World War Battles at Ypres, which remind us of the many sacrifices made and that continue to be made by our service personnel. As such we continue our commitment to deliver appropriate support to our vulnerable veterans as well as delivering new services to meet their ever changing needs.