Homeless veterans get Mayor’s support
An award-winning charity project that supports homeless veterans in the capital has been put on safer footing after Mayor Sadiq Khan stepped in to offer funding.
Run by Veterans Aid, the Welfare to Wellbeing project helps ex-servicemen and women in London who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to find a route off the streets, with services including emergency accommodation, access to food, counselling, rehabilitation and skills training.
In operation since 2003, the project holds a prestigious Institute for Turnaround award and last year helped 411 veterans who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Yet despite its success, pressure on the charity’s finances meant it risked being unable to help all those in need.
Sadiq, who last week launched a new rough sleeping campaign, ‘No one needs to sleep rough in London’, is providing £182,824 to help fund Welfare to Wellbeing, which will be match-funded by Veterans Aid. The funding is expected to help more than 300 veterans over three years from January 2018.
Former Royal Navy serviceman Nick was left homeless after battling mental health and family issues. “One crack appeared and then another – it was probably over a period of about three years, a slow ebbing away of physical and mental health, money and motivation,” he said.
He contacted Veterans Aid, which moved him into a hostel, gave him counselling training and help to secure a job and eventually found long term accommodation.
“I wasn’t looked down upon: I was treated with civility and decency. They understood that everyone has hard times and that some people don’t have the support that others do,” Nick said.
More than 8,000 people slept rough in London last year, of whom 132 had served in the UK’s armed forces.
“We are delighted to have the Mayor’s support for our work,” said Dr Hugh Milroy, Veterans Aid Chief Executive. “Veterans are generally resilient individuals but they are not immune from life’s crises and there is no crisis greater than homelessness,” he said.