Veterans in urgent need of housing let down in Weymouth & Portland

Veterans in urgent need of housing let down in Weymouth & Portland

Published by Maria Greenwood at 7:40am 13th February 2020.

No members of the armed forces in urgent need of housing were let a council property in Weymouth and Portland last year.

That's despite at least 8 people being identified as at risk of homelessness.

Housing laws state that local authorities must give preference to homeless applicants, with extra weight added to an application if they have served their country.

housing

In 2018-19, there were no households in Weymouth and Portland where current or former military personnel received this extra priority, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government data reveals.

But different statistics from the department show the council made a record of eight veterans who were homeless or at risk of becoming so in the area between January and March 2019.

It is not possible to calculate an annual total, as some veterans could appear in the figures in more than one period throughout the year.

homeless rough sleeper

Councils’ commitment to veterans was stated in the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC), to which “virtually all” local authorities in England have signed up, says the Co-Chair of Cobseo (Confederation of Service Charities) Housing Cluster.

Brigadier James Richardson said the “nuts and bolts” of the agreement had not filtered down to how councils apply it.

He added:

"We want local authorities to have a better understanding of the AFC so that all staff know what it is and what their responsibilities are. We think that’s missing in some areas.

"A lot of local authorities don’t even ask if someone is a veteran.

"Therefore it’s very hard to deliver the AFC requirements when they don’t even ask the basic questions."

A Government spokesman said:

"No-one should be homeless, least of all someone who has served their country.

"This is why we’ve put in place an additional £1 million fund to boost support for vulnerable veterans who are, or at risk of becoming, homeless."