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Statement – consultation on social houses for former servicemen and women with PTSD

In response to the Government’s proposals published for consultation, Ed Tytherleigh, Chief Executive of Stoll, said:

“Too many vulnerable people who have served in the Armed Forces do not get appropriate housing support from Local Authorities. That’s why we published a Call to Action last year urging the government to ensure that vulnerable Veterans who approach Local Authorities for social housing get the support they need.

“Local Authorities have an instrumental role to ensure that Veterans do not slip through the net and end up homeless. The experience of the Veterans we work with is that the response from LAs is patchy and inconsistent. Some Local Authorities are playing their part – but we need every LA to ask someone applying for social housing if they have served in the Armed Forces. If the answer is yes, that information must be recorded and acted upon so that the Veteran can then access appropriate housing.

“It is currently too easy for ex-Service personnel – especially younger people and Early Service Leavers – to end up homeless. Having served in the Armed Forces and, despite the commitments given in the Armed Forces Covenant, too many Veterans live in inappropriate accommodation, sofa surf, reside in hostels or end up homeless on the streets.

“We welcome the government’s consultation. Simple practical measures will help us avoid Veterans becoming homeless.”

Tina Fairbrass is a Stoll resident and served in the Royal Navy for seven years, including working for Nato and being posted to the Falklands.

She says: “After I left the Royal Navy I found myself in an abusive relationship and had to leave my partner before things got even worse. I was living on £20 a week, had a three year old daughter and was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. I contacted my Local Authority to ask for help and was simply given a list of local Landlords who would accept housing benefit. Unfortunately none of these Landlords were prepared to help and when I told the Local Authority this, I was told they couldn’t help me further.

“I had nothing as my partner had spent my life savings and I had subsequently lost my home. The Local Authority did not view my case as a priority even though I was homeless with no family to rely on. It was only when an ex-Navy colleague referred me to Stoll that my situation changed. I was offered a two bedroom flat that very day and have been there ever since. A secure home is absolutely crucial to rebuilding your life and I don’t know where I would be without Stoll. I welcome the Government’s announcement today, hopefully it will prevent other vulnerable, Veterans finding themselves homeless with nowhere to go.”