Veterans’ charity Launchpad is one of nine organisations selected by the government to tackle the issue of veterans experiencing homelessness.
As part of a two-year £8.5 million programme, vulnerable veterans across the UK will have access to Op FORTITUDE, a new dedicated pathway for veteran rough sleepers.
A new housing hotline has been set up to give homeless veterans a single point of contact to get them the help they need. Op FORTITUDE staff will refer callers to a network of support, including housing providers, charities and local authorities.
As part of the programme, Launchpad will provide additional, sustained support to homeless veterans across its three houses in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham. In addition, Launchpad has partnered with Healthier Heroes CIC based in Burnley and together, they will support 230 veterans over the next two years.
Following successful trials delivered for existing veterans, Launchpad will provide combined addiction and mental health psychotherapy services, intensive training and employment support, greater access to community activities and focussed support to help the veterans transition live independently.
90% of the veterans who arrive at Launchpad are either street-homeless or sofa-surfing. Some of the other veterans are referred on prison release with nowhere to go. By moving into Launchpad or Healthier Heroes, veterans’ homelessness and rough sleeping can be avoided.
A grant will provide the veterans with psychotherapy to address their complex mental health and addiction problems, the appointment of Employment & Training Co-Ordinators to support the veterans into employment and transitional support to reduce the risk of veterans becoming homelessness again.
The funding, which was launched by the Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer, will see wraparound support services for 1,300 veterans across more than 900 housing units. The programme will fulfil the government’s pledge to end veterans rough sleeping and is part of the Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan 2022-2024.
David Shaw, CEO and Co-Founder of Launchpad, said:
“We are delighted to have been selected to help deliver this important programme and further strengthen our aim of helping to reduce veterans homelessness in the UK.
“Launchpad has jointly campaigned the government for this programme, working alongside Riverside Group, Alabaré and Stoll. We, together with Healthier Heroes, are looking forward to supporting a further 230 homeless veterans over the next two years.
“Since it was formed in 2013, Launchpad has supported over 635 veterans while Healthier Heroes has supported 138 veterans since December 2020. On average, over the last five years, 61% of veterans supported by Launchpad have successfully moved on and 41% left in paid employment.”
During the announcement of the funding, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Rt Hon. Johnny Mercer MP, said:
“Everyone deserves a place they can call home, not least those who have served their country. Today’s launch is a huge milestone in ending veteran homelessness and a clear demonstration of this government delivering on its promises.
“There is a lot of great work being done across the country to help veterans get the right level of support. Op FORTITUDE is about bringing all of this together, so any veteran has a clear pathway to get local and customised care.”
Andrew and Rio Powell, Co–founders of Healthier Heroes CIC and Bancroft House, said:
“We are extremely happy to be part of this groundbreaking programme which enables us, as a partnership, to deliver more support to help reduce homelessness within the veterans’ community across the UK.”