The Cabinet Office issued the following press release yesterday, 21 December 2022. This is a project we have proudly and jointly campaigned for working alongside Riverside Group, Alabaré and Stoll.

New funding and support scheme to finally end armed forces veterans homelessness

More than £8.5 million of funding has been announced in order to ensure no veteran should sleep rough this Christmas, and veteran homelessness is ended in 2023.

The funding will deliver services in more than 900 housing units in England, where specialist help for veterans, including with health, education and employment needs are provided.

The new money announced today will also allow for the establishment of a new referral scheme – Op FORTITUDE, that will enable veterans at risk of homelessness to access supported housing and wrap-around specialist care in health, housing and education. Working with charities, the funding will ensure a single central point for local authorities and charities to identify those in need and refer them to a network of support.

Ahead of the funding, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer worked with the veteran housing charity sector, bringing them together to establish a temporary referral scheme in England, Wales and Scotland for the Christmas period, ensuring that no Veterans should be sleeping rough this Christmas.

Veterans can access the scheme through a dedicated charity helpline, on the number 01748 833797.

This temporary referral scheme should ensure that no veteran who seeks support is homeless at Christmas.

The Prime Minister will today host an event at No10 attended by charities Riverside and Stoll, along with veterans who were previously homeless. The Prime Minister will discuss with attendees the issue of veteran homelessness and how the government, including the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, can best ensure that everyone who needs support gets it.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer and Chief Secretary to the Treasury John Glen will also attend.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer said:

“No one, not least those who have served this country, should be homeless.

“That’s why today we are committing £8.5m in funding and supporting a dedicated pathway, set up in collaboration with our charity partners, so veterans can not only get the housing support they need this Christmas, but also the vital backing required to help them get on their feet again.

“As a government we remain steadfastly committed to ending veteran homelessness in 2023.”

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen said:

“It’s a sad fact that so many people who have served this country find themselves sleeping rough on the streets.

“Our mission is to put a stop to that, which is why we’re providing £8.5m in funding for over 900 housing units that support our veterans and creating a new service that will help those at risk of homeless access housing much more easily.

“Today’s announcement should ensure that no veteran who seeks help will be on the streets this Christmas.”

Lee Buss-Blair, the Director of Operations for The Riverside Group, and Member of the Veterans Advisory Board said:

“This funding will make a significant difference to the lives of vulnerable veterans.

“Not only will it support the Government’s commitment to end veteran rough sleeping, but it will also provide organisations the resources to support veterans into work.

“Veterans have so much to offer employers and communities, and thanks to this funding, providers will be far better placed to support them to realise their potential.”

The funding will ensure the government’s pledge in the Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan 2022-24 to end veteran rough sleeping within this Parliament, is delivered a year early.

Running for two years the funding provides help and support to some of the most vulnerable veterans in our society.

The vast majority of veterans go on to live happy, healthy and successful lives. But some do struggle and today’s announcement further demonstrates the government’s commitment to making this the best country in the world to be a veteran.

Image credit: The Cabinet Office