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Armed Forces: Homelessness

Volume 691: debated on Wednesday 9 May 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What provisions exist or are planned to prevent homelessness among former members of the Armed Forces and their families. [HL3477]

The Ministry of Defence works closely with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), other government departments, veterans' organisations and other service providers to ensure a co-ordinated and structured approach to homelessness among a small minority of ex-service personnel. Our aim is both to prevent new service leavers becoming homeless and to provide an effective safety net for existing homeless ex-service personnel. Current measures to achieve this include:

enhanced housing advice and assistance to all service personnel;

joint research to identify the extent of ex-service homelessness, to understand better the factors leading to it and to assess the effectiveness of remedial measures;

supporting a range of initiatives by the voluntary sector, particularly through the Ex-Services Action Group on Homelessness, including funding for key workers and an advisory leaflet for homeless ex-service personnel in London;

supported short-term accommodation for service leavers at risk of homelessness; and

working with the corporate, voluntary and government sectors to assist homeless ex-service personnel to return to sustained employment, through schemes such as Project Compass.

Interim findings of a current study indicate that these measures are achieving considerable success, with the proportion of rough sleepers with an Armed Forces background down by around two thirds since 2000.