Mayor joins forces with Veterans Aid to support homeless veterans

28 June 2013

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has joined forces with charity Veterans Aid to provide immediate additional support for homeless ex-UK service personnel in London, as part of his on-going commitment to end rough sleeping in the capital.

Veterans Aid is to receive £56,000 to provide emergency temporary accommodation for homeless veterans.

The funding will contribute to a programme that includes alcohol treatment as well as education and training projects. With over 80 years of experience, Veterans Aid has already helped thousands of ex-personnel who have found themselves in a crisis in the capital and elsewhere.

While UK veterans represent a small proportion of rough sleepers, the Mayor recognises that those veterans who do find themselves on the street often face a unique set of problems. The £56,000 donated to the charity is in addition to £300,000 the Mayor has ring-fenced from his rough sleeping budget to support homeless veterans who have served in the UK Armed Forces.

He has pledged to work closely with specialist homeless charities to provide them with the services they need as quickly as possible. The Mayor has committed over £34m to help end rough sleeping in London, including £9m this year. Working with the Government, boroughs and the voluntary sector he has pledged that no-one should call the streets their home.

His pioneering No Second Night Out project, currently being rolled out across the UK following its success in London, has already helped hundreds into the services they need with three quarters of those new to the streets spending just a single night out – compared to 57 per cent five years ago.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: “Although the number of veterans on our streets is thankfully low I’m determined to ensure that the small numbers who do end up sleeping rough have access to the right kind of services as fast as possible. Working with a specialist charity like Veteran’s Aid, we can make sure this happens and ensure that those who risked their lives keeping our country safe are given the support they need to turn their lives around.”

CEO of Veterans Aid, Dr Hugh Milroy said, "We are delighted to be receiving this money from the Mayor with whom we have worked closely. I see this money as recognition of Veteran Aid's expertise in dealing with homelessness among the veteran community and a real bonus in terms of helping us to provide immediate help to those men and women in crisis who seek our help.

“But the real aim of Veterans Aid is to prevent veterans in crisis from ending up on the streets of London in the first place. For the few that do slip through the net, this money will help us with our policy of swift intervention to break any cycle of dependency. We have a strong track record of success and this will help us maintain our vital position as the frontline charity for social exclusion among veterans.”

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Notes to editors

• The Mayor has pledged to contribute £56,000 to Veterans Aid to help support its personal Empowerment Programme for homeless veterans in London, in particular an emergency accommodation project for this group.

• You can call the No Second Night Out Rough Sleeping Phoneline 24/7 to report someone Sleeping Rough 0870 383 3333 or use their online reporting service at http://www.nosecondnightout.org.uk/help-a-rough-sleeper/ 

• The Mayor’s London Housing Strategy includes the following priorities: to ensure that on one will live on the streets of London and no individual arriving on the streets will sleep out for a second night. The Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Commissioning framework 2011-2015 has been published which set out the types of services that require commissioning to meet needs. The Mayor gave a commitment to the Assembly in February 2013 to ring fence £300,000 of his rough sleeping budget to meet the needs of homeless veterans during 2013/14. The Mayor has committed to support homeless veterans through the GLA’s commissioned services for rough sleepers in 2013/14, ensuring that £300,000 is delivered to meet these needs. Among UK nationals seen rough sleeping in London in 2012/13, three per cent were known to have served in the Armed Forces at some point.

• Veterans Aid is the nation’s one-stop shop for ex-servicemen and women in crisis, taking 3,000 calls a year and providing around 20,000 nights of accommodation. There are around 4.5 million veterans in the UK and around 20,000 men and women leave the Armed Forces and become veterans every year. The charity has been operating in London for more 80 years but takes calls from UK veterans worldwide. It operates a London drop-in centre and hostel , provides accommodation, outreach services, helpline and a diverse range of solutions to those in need.

For more information about Veterans Aid contact Glyn Strong on 0044 (0) 7806 920087 ( plus weekend 01494 762270) or email [email protected]. See also http://veterans-aid.net