Mac served in the British Army as an Infantry Soldier for seven years, including three tours in Northern Ireland, two tours in Bosnia and one in Iraq. He loved serving because of the camaraderie the Army provided as well as the discipline and the busy, active nature of life in the Armed Forces.
When injuries forced Mac to leave Service life behind, Mac was distraught. Without the structure and rigour of the Army, Mac found himself without a home and spent a year staying with one friend after another, or sleeping in his car. Despite having served in the Army for seven years and being homeless at the time, Mac was told by his Local Authority that he had not earned enough housing points and so would need to be added to the bottom of the list. At this time, Veterans were not given any priority for housing.
Later on in 2014 Mac’s marriage broke down and he again found himself homeless. He again applied to his Local Authority and this time was offered a flat after a few months but the offer was withdrawn on the day he was due to visit it due to it being reallocated to an asylum priority case.
Mac eventually found out about a Veterans’ housing charity called Stoll and they were able to offer him a one-bedroom flat in London straight away. Mac says “I contacted Stoll and they were like “right, let’s get you down for an interview. They didn’t turn their back on me. After a year homeless, with no place to call my own, suddenly I walked in that front gate, and it felt like walking through the barrack gates again.”
Stoll is the leading provider of supported housing to Veterans and one of the organisations that makes up the Cobseo Housing Cluster, a group of charitable and social housing organisations that provide Veteran-specific accommodation. It is these organisations that if Local Authorities are able to signpost Veterans to straight away, they can help those Veterans at risk of homelessness and get them back on their feet as soon as possible.