Housing

Homeless veterans get £1m funding boost to put 'a roof over their heads'

James Brokenshire allocates an extra pot of cash from the government's Rough Sleeping Strategy to tackle ex-Armed Forces personnel who have 'fallen on hard times'

James Brokenshire Housing Secretary

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has dedicated an extra £1 million to supporting homeless veterans, claiming the money will help ensure that ex-servicemen and women will have a roof over their heads and the support they need.

The fund will be split among the ten combined authorities and the Greater London Authority, which will use the funding to provide veterans with the bespoke support they need as they navigate civilian life.

“Our veterans play a vital role in keeping our country safe and many have dedicated their lives to the services,” said Brokenshire on Wednesday. “For those who fall on hard times and end up on the street, it is only right that we give them all the support they need to put a roof over their head.”

In February, ministers confirmed over £19.5 million is to be shared among 54 projects across the country to help thousands of people who are homeless to secure their own home – through support such as paying deposits for a tenancy or putting down the first months’ rent. This, ministers say, will help vulnerable people secure a home in a property they may otherwise not have been able to access.

The work is supporting the ongoing government commitment to put an end to rough sleeping through a number of initiatives set out in the £100 million backed Rough Sleeping Strategy.

“This additional funding goes hand in hand with the £1.2 billion which has been set aside to tackle all forms of homelessness, including £100 million for rough sleeping, helping ensure everyone has a safe and secure home to call their own, regardless of their background,” said Brokenshire.

But critics blasted the government’s strategy when it was announced last August, arguing that rough sleeping is only the tip of the iceberg.

Lord Porter, Local Government Association chairman, insisted that local authorities need to more help to tackle homelessness.

“Councils want to end all homelessness by preventing it from happening in the first place. This means allowing councils to build more social homes, reviewing welfare reforms and ensuring councils have the certainty, resources and tools they need to bring together services around people at risk of becoming homeless,” he said.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn blasted the plans for containing “no new money”, while homelessness organisations urged that the strategy should go further.

But the government claims since the introduction of the strategy, over 1750 beds and 500 additional support staff jobs have been created, helping to get rough sleepers off the street and into a more permanent home.

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