DD2397 Veterans Aid ‘Welfare to Wellbeing’ Project

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
30 September 2019
Decision by: 
Rickardo Hyatt, Assistant Director of Housing and Interim Deputy Executive Director

Executive summary

The GLA commissions and funds a range of pan-London rough sleeping services, which collectively form the Mayor’s ‘Life off the Streets’ programme. This includes supporting Veterans Aid’s Welfare to Wellbeing project, which works with homeless UK veterans in London. This DD seeks approval to allocate £92,020 from the GLA core rough sleeping budget to grant fund Veterans Aid to expand this project. The enhanced service will improve partnership working with outreach services and other key homelessness services and provide intensive coordinated intervention targeting the small number of entrenched rough sleepers who are UK veterans.

This project meets a number of the priorities set out in the pan-London Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework. This grant funding supplements Veterans Aid’s own funding of £253,769 for the project and previous GLA grant funding of £182,824 over a three-year period.


That the Executive Director of Housing and Land approves:

Expenditure of £92,020 (£61,983 in 2019/20 and £30,037 in 2020/2021) to grant fund Veterans Aid to enhance its Welfare to Wellbeing project for 18 months.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

During 2018/19, 8,855 people were seen sleeping rough in London - more than double the number in 2010/11. Of these, 62 per cent were new to the street, 51 per cent were non-UK nationals, and 31 per cent were from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. Around three-quarters had one or more support need, with 50 per cent having a need related to mental health, 42 per cent alcohol, and 41 per cent drugs.

Since 2016, the Mayor has coordinated efforts through his ‘No Nights Sleeping Rough’ (NNSR) taskforce to identify, implement, lobby for, and monitor the effectiveness of interventions to tackle rough sleeping. In his London Housing Strategy, the Mayor set out his aim that there should be a sustainable route off the streets for every rough sleeper in London. In June 2018, he published his Plan of Action which outlines the steps that need to be taken by City Hall, the Government, and others to achieve this.

Since taking office, the Mayor has been expanding the pan-London rough sleeping services the GLA funds and commissions. These services collectively form his ‘Life off the Streets’ programme. They are services for rough sleepers, or initiatives to tackle rough sleeping, that cannot or would not be provided at a London borough level, as they are pan-London or multi-borough in their remit.

In 2018, Veterans Aid successfully applied to the Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund (RSIF) and was awarded £182,824 of grant funding to support its Welfare to Wellbeing project over a three-year period (see MD2214). This funding is being used for emergency accommodation (£164,066) and long-distance travel (£18,758), with the objective of supporting 100 UK veterans who are homeless or at significant risk of homelessness into sustainable accommodation every 12 months.

In 2018/19, Veterans Aid met or exceeded all its project targets. The Welfare to Wellbeing project offers an immediate route off the streets for every UK veteran in need and a bespoke, structured pathway into independent living. It also helps ensure that veterans experience ‘no first night out’, through arranging immediate emergency accommodation at point of need.

Veterans Aid operates the project from its centre in Westminster. The project works with veterans in all areas of London but its strategic location in the centre of the capital ensures it has the biggest impact in boroughs where there is the greatest need.

The project takes a holistic approach to preventing homelessness and recognises there are often needs which need to be addressed for a veteran to sustain accommodation. Veterans Aid provides needs-led interventions, minimising any waste. Food is purchased when a veteran’s most basic need is sustenance, detox/rehab services are bought in as soon as clients are ready for them, travel is funded only when it is seen in the context of addressing wider issues and training is bespoke to individual aspiration, capacity and inclination.

Six per cent of people seen rough sleeping in 2018/19 in London had served in the armed forces and two per cent were UK veterans (115 people). This number has remained stable in recent years, despite large increases in rough sleeping overall. This is, at least in part, a testament to the work of Veterans Aid and their Welfare to Wellbeing project.

The £92,020 of GLA grant funding to Veterans Aid for 18 months proposed by this DD will be used to enhance the project. It will enable Veterans Aid to expand its partnership working with outreach services and other key homelessness services, to establish referral pathways (including through StreetLink) to ensure every homeless UK veteran in London swiftly receives specialist support and to provide intensive coordinated interventions targeting the small number of UK veterans who continue to sleep rough in London for longer periods. This will be match-funded by Veterans Aid (£253,769 over the 18-month period).

Objectives and expected outcomes

The objectives of the Welfare to Wellbeing project are to:

• offer an immediate route off the streets for every UK veteran in need and a bespoke, structured pathway into independent living;
• assist every homeless veteran in London whose plight is brought to its attention, with a view to eradicating rough sleeping in London’s ex-service community, where possible by prevention and where not by immediate, practical intervention; and
• ensure that all UK veterans who are sleeping rough or at immediate risk of sleeping are able to access Veterans Aid specialist support, through established referral pathways and partnership agreements with London’s outreach teams and other homelessness services.

The grant funding provided from the GLA will enhance the effectiveness of the project over the next eighteen months. It will enable a further 50 veterans (in addition to the 100 referred to above) who are homeless or at significant risk of homelessness to be supported into sustainable accommodation every 12 months, with a target that 90 per cent do not return to rough sleeping.

The desired outcomes of the Welfare to Wellbeing project are:

• a London in which no veteran sleeps rough;
• swifter identification and referral of veterans who are homeless, or at risk at homelessness, through operation of a streamlined system; and
• embedding the Welfare to Wellbeing model as a pathway that breaks cycles of dependency in London’s ex-service community by addressing not just homelessness but the underlying causes of homelessness.

Equality comments

Under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as public authorities, the Mayor and GLA are subject to a public sector equality duty and must have ‘due regard’ to the need to (i) eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; (ii) advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not; and (iii) foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not. Protected characteristics under section 149 of the Equality Act are age, disability, gender re-assignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, and marriage or civil partnership status (all except the last being “relevant” protected characteristics).

Of those seen rough sleeping in 2018/19:

• 51 per cent were non-UK nationals;
• 50 per cent had a mental health need;
• 16 per cent were women;
• most of those seen rough sleeping (56 per cent) were between 26-45 years old;
• eight per cent were under 26 years old; and
• 12 per cent were over 55.

Analysis of CHAIN data on UK veterans sleeping rough in London in 2018/19 has shown that two per cent (115) of people seen rough sleeping in the year were UK nationals who have served in the armed forces.

People with a disability are over-represented among rough sleepers. The proposal in this paper is likely to have a positive impact on this group, as the Welfare to Wellbeing project supports homeless UK veterans, including rough sleepers.

Other considerations

Key risks and issues

Risk description


Inherent risk

Mitigating action


Residual risk







The provider may not meet its objectives for the project, negatively impacting on the achievement of key Mayoral objectives. 




Robust reporting requirements and monitoring will ensure any issues the Provider has with achieving their objectives will be identified and rectified quickly and appropriately.

The funding agreement will contain a clause that the GLA can reduce, suspend or withhold GLA funding, or require all or part of the GLA funding to be repaid, if the provider fails to achieve the project objectives.




The number of veterans in London who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, may reduce, making the project less relevant.




In 2018, 812 people sought help from Veterans Aid, an increase from 479 people in 2017. This suggests that it is unlikely that demand will drop sufficiently within the lifetime of the project to make it obsolete.

The numbers of people supported by the service will be monitored through the quarterly reports. In addition, the GLA Rough Sleeping Team constantly monitors the rough sleeping landscape (including number of ex-service personnel rough sleeping), through detailed CHAIN reports, and through strategic and operational interactions with key stakeholders from boroughs, service providers, central government and others (including through the Mayor’s No Nights Sleeping Rough taskforce). There will be annual break clauses in the grant agreement so if the numbers substantially drop we would review the funding.





Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

This project has direct links to the London Housing Strategy[1] policy 7.1: Preventing and addressing Homelessness and policy 7.2: Supporting Rough Sleepers off the streets. It also contributes to meeting the following priorities of the pan-London Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework:

Overarching priorities

To work with boroughs and partners:

    • to minimise the flow of new rough sleepers onto the streets;
    • to ensure that no-one new to the streets sleep rough for a second night; and
    • to ensure that no-one lives on the streets of London.


Cross-cutting priorities

To work with boroughs and partners:

    • to tackle hidden or mobile rough sleeping;
    • to meet the physical and mental health needs of rough sleepers;
    • to help ensure the availability of appropriate accommodation, including emergency accommodation;
    • to maintain and improve the collection of data about rough sleeping; and
    • to promote employment, training and volunteering among rough sleepers.


Impact assessments and consultations


The London Housing Strategy was subject to a full public consultation and the Rough Sleeping Commissioning Framework 2016+ was made available for consultation with key stakeholders and partners. Each was subject to a full equalities impact assessment.


There are no interests to declare of any of the reviewers of this approval.

Financial comments

This decision requests approval for revenue expenditure of £92,020 towards the provision of Welfare to Wellbeing project. This project will be delivered by Veterans Aid and will run over two financial years (2019/20 to 2020/21) for a period of 18 months.


The expenditure will be funded from the Rough Sleeping budget (MD1532), which has been allocated a four-year indicative budget of up-to £33.8m (£8.450m per/year) and has been profiled to be spent as follows:







​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The £92,020 requested in this decision is in addition to £182,824 previously granted to Veterans Aid.   It is also match funded with £253,769 of Veteran Aid’s own funding.

Activity table



Welfare to Wellbeing project – start date of enhanced service

01 April 2019

Welfare to Wellbeing project – end date of enhanced service

30 September 2020

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