Need to know

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that people who Serve or who have Served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. But despite the firm commitments the Covenant sets out, there are still too many veterans living in inappropriate accommodation, in hostels or on the streets.

Research suggests that up to 3% of people sleeping rough in England are veterans. This means that around 300 to 400 veterans end up on the streets every year, and up to 4,000 require urgent support to find accommodation. Just one is one too many.

There is a wealth of dedicated advice and support services for people who have served in the Armed Forces. But if homeless veterans in search of housing are not identified as ex-Forces, they may not be signposted to the best help that is available.

Think Veteran

No Homeless Veterans is a new campaign to ensure that Veterans are identified as ex-Forces at their point of need and are quickly and effectively signposted to the enhanced support services available to them. No Homeless Veterans is led by the Cobseo Housing Cluster – the group that co-ordinates the response of the veterans community to homeless veterans.

We would like Local Authorities, homelessness charities, citizens’ advice bureaus and other advice agencies to ‘Think Veteran’ and direct former Servicemen and women to the best possible support.

With your support, we believe we can reduce homelessness among veterans as close to zero as possible. We urge everyone who processes housing requests to follow these crucial steps:

1. Identify

  • Think Veteran. Routinely ask every person who applies for housing whether they are a veteran.
  • Have a robust system in place to record this data and keep it up to date.
  • Ensure your website has clearly labelled information for veterans.
  • Guidance for Local Authorities is available in this toolkit developed by The Royal British Legion.

Since December 2018 Local Authorities must include Veterans as a distinct category in their housing returns to central government (Homelessness Case Level Information Collection or H-CLIC). This data is vital to providing the best possible assistance to everyone who is in housing need, and ultimately reducing the number of homeless people in the UK.


2. Support

  • Observe the Armed Forces Covenant: consider whether your organisation can meet the housing needs of veterans that approach you.
  • Once you have exhausted your own routes to housing, refer veterans to the Veterans’ Gateway. The specialist housing advice provided by the Gateway will put them in touch with the right organisation to help them.
  • Appoint an Armed Forces Champion, who is clearly identifiable to the public, to ensure that commitments to the Armed Forces community are met.

The Veterans’ Gateway is a single point of contact for veterans seeking support. It connects veterans with the organisations best placed to help with the information and advice they need, on areas as diverse as healthcare, housing, employability and personal relationships. Many of the Veterans’ Gateway team are veterans themselves so understand the issues that ex-Servicemen and women can face.


Find out more

Housing Heroes: how Local Authorities and other agencies are embracing ‘Think Veteran’ when processing requests and how they strive to support Veterans in housing need.

Veterans Stories: how veterans find the help they need quickly thanks to well co-ordinated support from Local Authorities and housing and veterans’ organisations.

Partners: the veterans’ organisations that are running the No Homeless Veterans campaign.