There is advice available for ex-armed forces personnel who are threatened with homelessness or homeless.
How we can help
If you apply to for housing assistance because you are homeless in these circumstances, we may not necessarily be legally obliged to provide you with any accommodation. However, you may qualify for help from the council if you are a former member of the armed forces and are homeless or threatened with homelessness and meet certain criteria.
We will have a duty to assess the circumstances of your homelessness, identify what your housing and support needs are, and to work with you to try to prevent your homelessness or support you to find you somewhere to live. We will provide you with a ‘personal housing plan’ which will tell you what we can do to help you and what you can do to help yourself.
We must consider whether to provide you with emergency housing using both general rules that apply to all applicants and special rules that apply to people who were in the forces.
Those in priority need
It can be easier to get help if you qualify under the general rules for people in priority need, for example, if you have dependent children or are pregnant. We will also explore if you are vulnerable in any way. This may involve showing how a disability, mental health problem, addiction or other issue affects your ability to secure housing for yourself compared with other people who are rendered homeless.
Extra homelessness rules for the armed forces
You should also be treated as being vulnerable and therefore in priority need for accommodation if you can show that your vulnerability is as a result of being a former member of the armed forces.
When deciding this, we may consider:
- how long you were in the forces and what role you had
- if you spent any time in a military hospital
- if you were released from service on medical grounds (and have a Medical History Release Form)
- if you have had accommodation since leaving service and if you have been able to obtain or maintain accommodation since you left
- how long it has been since you left service
To help support your case, you may need to provide medical evidence from the MOD, including a Medical History Release Form (if you were given one). You may need to seek independent legal advice or help from a specialist agency to make representations on your behalf if this council decides that you do not meet the criteria set out above, and therefore it does not owe a duty to provide you with accommodation.
Re-housing in the area of your base
To be accepted as homeless in the local council area where you were based, you must be able to show that you have a local connection with the local council where your base was situated.
You may be able to show a local connection with that area if you:
- currently work in the area
- have lived in the area for six out of the last 12 months or three out of the last five years
- live with a partner who currently works in the area
If you have left the forces and are not yet working for another employer in the area, you will not be able to show a local connection through working in the area. However, you may still be able to show that you have a local connection as the time you spent living or working in the area may still count.
Please note that you do not need to have a local connection to apply to go on the housing register.
If you are:
- A serving member of the regular forces or have been such a member within the five years preceding your application to be placed on the register
- The spouse or civil partner of a deceased member of the regular armed forces (whose death is attributable wholly or partly to that service) and have recently ceased or will cease to be entitled to reside in MOD accommodation
- Serving or have served in the reserve forces and are suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is attributable (either wholly or partly) to that service.
visit Kent Homechoice (whether or not you are currently living in the borough).
The demand for social housing in Gravesham is not met by the supply of property that becomes available each year and even if you qualify for inclusion, the wait can be long.
Apply as homeless before discharge from the forces
Complete an online application for housing assistance by visiting Housing Assistance Referral Portal (hpa2.org) if you think you will be homeless after discharge from the services. Upon the production of a letter of discharge or some other evidence that confirms the date of your discharge from the Forces, we should accept that from the date of discharge you will become homeless.
In the event that you have not sought any housing assistance prior to your discharge from the Forces you may need to stay in your accommodation as long as possible and wait for Defence Estates to evict you. Defence Estates have to give you a Notice to Vacate before they can take you to court in order that they can obtain a possession order. You can use any Notice to Vacate and any possession order that is obtained against you as evidence in support of your homelessness application.
Ex-forces and single, homeless and on the streets
We would encourage you to come to see us as even if we cannot provide accommodation and we can give you advice on:
- day centres which are a useful source of practical support – they provide a warm place to stay during the day and food, clothing, laundry facilities and showers
- how to contact the Royal British Legion who might be able to help with a rent deposit
- how to contact SSAFA who provide housing advice to people currently serving in the forces and ex-service personnel and their families.
- how to use the Homeless England directory to find details of other day centres and hostels across the UK.
- financial assistance that might be available via our Support Fund, the Homelessness Prevention Fund or Discretionary Housing Payments
Veterans' Housing Advice is a new service which provides clear pathways for ex-service personnel in housing need throughout the United Kingdom to move into permanent homes. It is provided in partnership with The Royal British Legion, Shelter and Connect Assist, its main aim is to make accessing the services of charities easier through a telephone helpline open seven days a week from 8am-8pm. It can, for example, provide a housing intervention that negates the need to consider a rent bond or rent deposit.
You can contact the direct number for an advisor on 0808 801 0880, or via the Veterans’ Gateway on 0808 802 1212 that is available 24/7. Services include:
- Supported Accommodation - providing temporary accommodation for veterans, with support.
- Long Term Housing - providing settled accommodation for veterans, with or without support.
- General Needs - Unsupported housing for members of the ex-service community unable to buy or rent on the open market. Tenants will usually be self-sufficient, but need to avail themselves of some of the floating support listed. Some adapted properties may be available or adaptations arranged as necessary.
- Floating Support - Services delivered by visiting workers to people in their own homes to help people maintain their settled accommodation.
- Outreach Services - Covering work with rough sleepers or people in temporary accommodation to help them access more settled accommodation and any support needs.
- Day Centres - The provision of activities and support to homeless and vulnerably housed people (also called by some providers 'drop-in' facilities)
Homeless after dishonourable discharge
We may not have a duty to offer you accommodation if you are homeless after being discharged on disciplinary grounds from the UK armed forces. However, we will still be able to provide you with support to help you find accommodation.