Skip to main content

Veterans: Homelessness

Question for Department for Communities and Local Government

UIN HL5436, tabled on 4 March 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 2 March (HL Deb, col 6), what is their assessment of the number of (1) veterans casually sleeping rough, and (2) homeless veterans, in (a) London, and (b) elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Answered on

12 March 2015

DCLG’s Rough Sleeping Statistics England – Autumn 2014 statistical release provides a single night snapshot and does not provide information on the demographics of rough sleepers. However, the Greater London Authority’s CHAIN (Combined Homeless and Information Network) database in London shows that, in 2013/14, 3% (145) of people seen rough sleeping who are from the UK had served in the armed forces.

The Government has increased spending to prevent and tackle rough sleeping and homelessness making over £500 million available, giving councils the funding and tools needed to take action against rough sleeping locally. There is a range of initiatives and projects in place to help rough sleepers, prevent single homelessness and to help those who have been homeless find and sustain accommodation. The initiatives help a wide range of single homeless people including military veterans.

StreetLink has helped thousands of vulnerable people who have slept rough or faced the prospect of doing so. By using Streetlink the public can help connect rough sleepers to the local services available so they can get the help they need to get them off the streets. Since 2012, StreetLink has made nearly 24,500 rough sleeping referrals to councils to investigate, leading to 10,500 rough sleepers being found and connected with local services of which nearly 2,000 resulted in them finding accommodation.

We have also supported the roll-out of No Second Night Out nationally through the £20 million Homelessness Transition Fund for the voluntary sector, ensuring rough sleepers are found quickly and that they do not spend more than one night on the street.

We have launched an £8 million Help for Single Homeless Fund for local authorities which will improve council services for single people facing the prospect of homelessness. Thirty-four projects, working across 168 local authorities, will provide support for up 22,000 single homeless people.

The Government is helping single homeless people find and sustain accommodation in the private rented sector through our £14 million funding to Crisis. By 2016 we expect the Crisis scheme to have helped 10,000 single homeless people since it started in 2010.

We have also introduced protection to ensure that former and current Service personnel are not disadvantaged in accessing social housing because of the disadvantages of military life. We have changed the law by regulation so that seriously injured personnel and former members of the Armed Forces with urgent housing needs must always be given high priority for social housing by local authorities. We have also made sure that serving personnel and those who have recently been discharged do not lose their qualification rights because of the requirement to move from base to base. Additionally, we have issued statutory guidance strongly encouraging local authorities to give sympathetic consideration to prioritising the needs of all former Service personnel, for example through the use of local preference criteria and local lettings policies.

The devolved administrations publish their own statistics on homelessness and rough sleeping.