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Coping with homelessness

Special consideration for those who are vulnerable

The Regulations ensure that, where Local Housing Authorities decide to use a local connection requirement as a qualification criterion, they must not apply it to the following persons so as to disqualify them from an allocation of Social Housing:

  • those who are currently serving in the Regular Forces or who were serving in the Regular Forces at anytime in the five years preceding their application for an allocation of Social Housing
  • bereaved spouses or civil partners of those serving in the Regular Forces where the bereaved spouse or civil partner has recently had to leave, or will soon have to leave, Ministry of Defence accommodation following the death of their Service spouse or civil partner in Service
  • current or former members of the Reserve Forces who are suffering from a serious injury, illness, or disability which is wholly or partly attributable to their Service

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 requires local Housing Authorities to intervene to prevent and relieve homelessness, with former members of the Regular Armed Forces named as a specific group to be supported.

Housing Authorities are required to assist individuals if they are likely to become homeless within 56 days. This applies to all Service personnel leaving Single Living Accommodation or Service Family Accommodation 56 days before their discharge date.

Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 allows Local Authorities to provide help, in the form of temporary accommodation, to applicants who are homeless, eligible, in priority need, not intentionally homeless and who have a local connection with the area in question.

Under the Homelessness (Priority Need for Accommodation) (England), Service personnel applying for assistance in England are in priority need if they are ‘vulnerable’ as a result of having been in the Services.

The Homelessness Code of Guidance states that the following will be considered by a Local Authority when deciding if an applicant from the Services is vulnerable:

  • how long the individual has been in the Armed Forces
  • type of Service
  • any time spent in a military hospital
  • whether the Armed Forces medical and/or welfare advisers consider the person is vulnerable
  • how long it has been since the person left the Armed Forces
  • what support networks are available

It is really important when asking for special consideration as part of your homelessness application that you:

  • make it clear to the Housing Officer that you are asking for special consideration under the Armed Forces Covenant
  • explain how your experiences in service have resulted in you becoming vulnerable
  • explain your specific medical needs, whether physical or mental health, as this may help them to find you suitable accommodation
  • provide any original documentation you may have from Defence Medical Services, the MOD or NHS to support your application. This will include your service number and branch of service
  • provide details of any support agencies such as SSAFA, the Royal British Legion or Veterans Contact Point who may be supporting you.

You can have someone to support you during a homelessness application. This can be an advocate from a support agency, or a member of your family, or a friend and if you need a break from the assessment say so.

Please note – special consideration can only be asked for, and is assessed on a case by case basis. It is not a right or automatic entitlement.

Further support:

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