Housing Advice for Ex-Forces Personnel

  • April 27, 2018
  • Posted by: Rosalie Boyles

Positive steps to prevent homelessness among ex-forces personnel and their families and to improve access to housing

If you’re leaving the Armed Forces, or you are a former member, you may be entitled to help from Richmondshire District Council if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness . Please contact our Housing Options team on 01748 901150 or email housingoptions@richmondshire.gov.uk

The government has made a commitment to support ex-forces. It is committed to ensuring that service personnel, veterans and their families have the support they need and are treated with the dignity they deserve. To deliver this commitment, the Armed Forces Covenant outlines the positive measures being taken by government to ensure that the Armed forces community face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/578212/20161215-The-Armed-Forces-Covenant.pdf

PREVENTING HOMELESSNESS, WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELP YOU

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 significantly reformed England’s homelessness legislation by placing duties on local authorities to intervene at earlier stages to prevent homelessness in their areas.  It also requires housing authorities to provide homelessness services to all those affected, not just those who have a ‘priority need’. These include:

  1. An enhanced prevention duty extending the period a household is threatened with homelessness from 28 days to 56 days, meaning that housing authorities are required to work with people to prevent homelessness at an earlier stage; and,
  2. A new duty for those who are already homeless so that housing authorities will support households for 56 days to relieve their homelessness by helping them to secure accommodation

The  Homelessness Reduction Act came into force on 3 April 2018 and Richmondshire District Council start working to prevent your homelessness as soon as you present your  93 day notice (giving the Armed Forces and ex-Forces personnel an extra 37 days outside of the statutory duty period of 56 days to prevent.)

Discharge from Service and Notice to Vacate (93 day notice)

Once you are in receipt of your Notice to Vacate, please contact the Housing Options team on 01748 901150 or email housingoptions@richmondshire.gov.uk at your earliest opportunity and they will  assist you to prevent and/or relieve your homelessness. You must consider private rental property which is suitable for your household needs. To end our prevention or relief duty to you we may assist you to secure a 6-month assured shorthold tenancy in the private sector. Please visit  http://www.rightmove.co.uk for further information on available properties.

If you meet the eligibility criteria you may also register for social housing online via  www.northyorkshirehomechoice.org.uk.

In the Allocations Policy, ‘Armed Forces’ is defined as:

  1. Serving in the regular forces or who has served in the regular armed forces including those existing members of the regular armed forces who are suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability as a result of their service who may need to move out of their existing accommodation to suitably adapted social housing before they complete their service or who were serving in the regular forces at any time in the five years preceding their application for an allocation of social housing.
  2. Serving or has served in the reserve forces who are suffering from a serious injury, illness, or disability which is wholly or partially attributable to their service
  3. bereaved spouses or civil partners of those serving in the regular forces where

(i) the bereaved spouse or civil partner has recently ceased, or will cease to be entitled, to reside in Ministry of Defence accommodation following the death of their service spouse or civil partner, and

(ii) the death was wholly or partly attributable to their service

  1. d) For this purpose ―the regular forces and ―the reserve forces have the meanings given by section 374 of the Armed Forces Act 2006(2). http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/52/section/374

The definitions a and b above extend to applications from former service personnel,where the application is made within 5 years following discharge.

It is recognised that bereaved spouses (as in c above) and civil partners of service personnel who are required to leave service families accommodation following the death of their spouse or partners are likely to experience similar issues to service families on discharge from the forces. The Regulations are intended therefore to protect bereaved spouses and civil partners from the time they are required to leave service families accommodation until they are able to obtain alternative settled accommodation.

USEFUL LINKS FOR KEY ADVICE:

Joint Service Housing Advice Office 01252 787574

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/joint-service-housing-advice-office-jshao

Support from MOD prior to leaving services

SPACES – 01748 833797, 872940,830191

https://www.riverside.org.uk/care-and-support/veterans/spaces/

Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the Ex Services, SPACES, is a housing advice and placement service for veterans. SPACES targets the most vulnerable of Service leavers, regardless of rank, length of service, or reason for discharge.

Veterans Gateway 0808 8021212, text 81212

https://support.veteransgateway.org.uk/app/category_list/c/27/p/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8s-jzJme2gIVQRMbCh0AGg62EAAYASACEgIq_PD_BwE

A single point of contact for veterans seeking advice and support.

SSAFA 01748 830771

https://www.ssafa.org.uk/help-you/veterans/housing-advice?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI9fy1p5ye2gIVBz8bCh1JOAyLEAAYASAAEgKBL_D_BwE

Practical housing advice and support for veterans and their dependants. You may be able to apply for funding to help you move house.

Phoenix House – Recovery in the North 01748 834148

https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support/how-to-access-our-services/recovery-in-the-north/

The centre is accessible to all wounded, injured and sick personnel and their loved ones. Whether they’re still serving or a Veteran.

Combat Stress 0800 138 1619

https://www.combatstress.org.uk/

24 hour helpline provides support for veterans and their families seeking expert advice on mental health, housing and employment