Hundreds of vulnerable military veterans are set to lose the extra help they need unless the government steps in with guaranteed funding, according to housing providers.
Four organisations, which between them provide 558 beds at 19 locations across the UK for vulnerable veterans, have written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak asking for £5.5m over the next two years.
Lee-Buss Blair, Riverside’s director of operations, told Sky News two of its three supported housing schemes have been forced to withdraw support services for veterans with problems including PTSD, physical disability, mental health difficulties and substance misuse.
“In England there are around 900 units of accommodation that are designated as supported housing for veterans [and] most of them have already lost their funding,” he said.
“Veterans are reluctant to engage in mainstream services, and as our services disappear veterans may well be put in a position where they choose between engaging in a mainstream homelessness service or not engaging at all.”
Riverside’s Beacon centre at Catterick Garrison, which has helped more than 340 homeless veterans over the past 10 years, is the latest to run out of funding.
Paul Chadwick, 64, who had a breakdown two years ago that left him with almost no memory of his 14 years in the army, told Sky News he doesn’t know where he would be without the Beacon’s support.
“I can be honest and say this place actually saved my life,” he said.
“I just couldn’t do more than one person at a time and I didn’t like noise or sudden movements and things, so I would have ended up on the street.
“But because this place is here it was great.
“I got my own little flat, I could be on my own, and the staff just looked after me.”
A government spokesperson said: “Our serving armed forces and veterans represent the very best of us.
“Veterans in England can access specialist support from Operation Courage, the dedicated veterans’ mental health service.
“In addition to the £20m allocated to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust and nearly £18m spent on veteran specific mental health support this year, we have announced a further £5m of support for the military charity sector.
“Veterans can also receive preferential access to social housing. We are in contact with the charity to understand their concerns and signpost them to potential funding.”