Britain’s shame: Hundreds of armed forces veterans left homeless and living on our streets

“The adjustment to civilian life can be confusing enough for our community, but when you throw other life issues into the mix such as relationship breakdowns or financial problems, it can create further challenges”

A spokeswoman from The Royal British Legion

A spokeswoman from The Royal British Legion said: “Whilst there is no definitive evidence to link service life itself to homelessness, we know from experience that there are unique issues that veterans and their families may face finding housing.

“The adjustment to civilian life can be confusing enough for our community, but when you throw other life issues into the mix such as relationship breakdowns or financial problems, it can create further challenges.

“We want to ensure the Armed Forces community knows that we are there for them throughout their lives and that the sooner they approach us for support, the better.” 

While CHAIN’s annual report showed a decrease in the number of veterans on the streets last year, the charity’s annual statistics for London showed a huge rise in the number of rough sleepers. 

Released last week, the research shows an increase of 18% in the capital with 24% new to the streets in the last year. 

Petra Salva, St Mungo’s Director of Rough Sleeping, Criminal Justice and Migrants Services, said: “After the numbers almost stabilised last year, it’s alarming to see another rise in rough sleeping of 18% in London this year, with a 24% increase of new people to the streets. This highlights the real challenge around prevention.

“These figures also highlight a rise in the number of people returning to rough sleeping after at least a year away from the streets. This shows the importance of getting the right long term accommodation and support in place for people who have slept rough in ensuring people can rebuild their lives away from the street for good. 

“Recent short term funding provided as part of the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy has been welcome. However, it does not replace what has been lost in cuts to homelessness services over the last nine years. The Government must use this year’s spending review to properly restore funding and secure the future homelessness services, so as to not miss its target of ending rough sleeping by 2027.” 

In a statement to Daily Star Online, a spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Our veterans have played a vital role in keeping our country safe.

“No one, including veterans, should spend their lives on the streets, or without a home to call their own which is why we’re providing an estimated 2,600 more bed spaces and 750 additional specialist support staff this year alone.”

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