- Exclusive polling reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) of voters are very concerned or concerned about military veterans sleeping rough on the streets: 84% among Tory voters, 81% Labour, 86% Lib Dem
- Polling reveals more than three-quarters of voters (76%) believe the Government has a duty to end veteran’s homelessness 78% among Tory voters 76% Labour, 86% Lib Dem.
- The news comes after the four main providers of supported housing for British military veterans have joined together to call for £5.5m to prevent the collapse of services for veterans who most need support.
- Across the UK Riverside, Launchpad, Alabaré, and Stoll provide 558 flats or bed spaces across 19 locations for veterans with support needs.
- In total there are estimated to be 966 supported housing spaces for British military veterans, the vast bulk of which do not receive statutory funding to cover the majority of their running costs.
- The Beacon has recently lost funding to support homeless British military veterans with complex support needs such as PTSD (30th September)
- The Office for Veterans Affairs was created by Boris Johnson in 2019 with the mission to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran.
- To date the Governments have cited how they have provided local authorities with £750m in rough sleeping funding, alongside £30m funding to the veteran charity sector.
- While this funding is welcomed, none of this funding is making its way to veteran supported housing. As a direct result, services are having to reduce the specialist support they offer leaving them unable accommodate veterans with the most complex support needs.
- The situation in Afghanistan has brought memories of traumatic experiences to the surface for many veterans, which can bring symptoms of PTSD back to the surface and underlines the ongoing need for specialist services to support those who have served in the British military.
- People interested in protecting supported housing for military veterans can pledge their support by visiting – https://www.riverside.org.uk/care-and-support/veterans/pledge-your-support/
Exclusive independent public polling conducted by Survation has revealed that more than three-quarters of voters believe the Government has a duty to end veteran’s homelessness.
The polling shows strong cross-party support for ending veterans’ homelessness with 78% of Tory voters, 76% of Labour voters and 86% of Lib Dem voters wanting to stop it.
The survey commissioned by Riverside has also revealed that almost four in five voters are concerned about military veterans sleeping rough.
The polling comes as at a time where the four main providers of supported housing for homeless British military veterans have joined forces to warn of the collapse of the supported housing services for British veterans who need them most.
Last month it emerged that The Beacon, at Catterick Garrison, the largest British Army garrison in the world will lose funding to support homeless British military veterans with complex support needs such as PTSD, physical disabilities, mental health problems and substance misuse.
Riverside, the third largest provider of supported housing for people affected by roughs sleeping, has warned that the closure of services to help veterans experiencing homelessness with PTSD, mental health, substance misuse and physical disabilities puts British military veterans at risk of ending up homeless again.
The Beacon, which is managed by Riverside and is situated in Richmond, North Yorkshire, has helped more than 340 homeless British military veterans since it opened in September 2011.
Riverside, Launchpad, Alabaré, and Stoll have written to the HM Treasury seeking financial support from the Government to prevent the collapse of services for homeless military veterans with complex needs, which are almost entirely reliant on donations from charities and good causes.
Nationally estimates indicate that between 100 and 400 veterans sleep rough ever year and a further 3,000 to 4,000 face homelessness in temporary accommodation, sofa surfing, or living in tents, cars or derelict buildings.
The Office for Veterans Affairs was established in 2019 with a mission “to make sure the United Kingdom is the best place to be a veteran anywhere in the world.”
Specialist supported housing for veterans saves and transforms lives. British military veterans, Karl McMichael, Dave Karan, Paul Chadwick and Peter Manson*, who have used The Beacon say: “It changed my life. If it wasn’t for them, I would either be in jail or dead.”
Across the UK Riverside, Launchpad, Alabaré, and Stoll provide 558 flats or bed spaces across 19 locations for veterans with support needs.
However, military veterans face losing these vital support services with central Government funding having ended and local government funding drying up over the past few years.
In total there are estimated to be 966 supported housing spaces for veterans affected by homelessness.
Protecting the collapse of these vital services for the next two financial years until the end of this parliament, would cost the Government around £5.5m – or £2.75m per year.
Lee-Buss Blair, Director of Operations and Veteran’s Lead at Riverside, spent six years in the 17th/21st Lancers where he saw front line active service in the first Gulf War, before going on to see active service in the conflict in Bosnia.
He said: “This polling proves that voters want the Government to end rough sleeping among British military veterans as a time when we have lost nearly all government funding for veteran specific supported housing over the past decade.
“It has already been recognised that, in some circumstances, special treatment for veterans may be appropriate to overcome barriers to engagement.
“Veterans can be reluctant to engage with mainstream homelessness services, and avoid seeking help as a result.
“Our concern is that, in the absence of properly funded veteran supported housing, veterans with significant support needs experiencing homelessness will choose to avoid accessing mainstream homelessness services, and end up on the streets as a result.
“Services for homeless veterans with complex needs have not received the majority of their funding from central Government for so many years that we don’t believe Government is aware of the scale and severity of the problem.
“To date the Governments have cited how they have provided local authorities with £750m in rough sleeping funding, alongside £30m funding to the veteran charity sector. While this funding is welcomed, none of this is making its way to veteran supported housing.
“This specialist accommodation sits in a no man’s land and straddle both the veteran and homelessness worlds. While arguments can be made for funding being the responsibility of either, the reality is, it is not currently seen as the responsibility of either.
“That is why we are calling for a dedicated funding pot to address this – to ensure that all veterans with complex needs, affected by homelessness can avoid life on the streets and access the support and accommodation many so desperately need.
“It is a great step forward that the Government has already acknowledged that we need to go the extra mile on veteran mental health to overcome the barriers to engaging in mainstream services with the creation of Op COURAGE. We are simply asking for the same acknowledgement to be extended to veteran homelessness and supported housing.
“The situation in Afghanistan has brought memories to the surface for many veterans, and as a result, our vital support services are needed now more than ever.”