This spring, Veterans’ Gateway has partnered with Shelter, the UK’s leading housing and homelessness charity to raise awareness of some of the key issues faced by the Armed Forces community and how they can access the right information and help with their housing concerns. A service launched last year, Veterans’ Gateway provides a first point of contact for veterans who need support, connecting them with the right organisation that can help on a range of issues including housing, finance, mental health and employment.
Since Veterans’ Gateway began, housing advice is the second most common subject that veterans and their families have been seeking help and guidance about. Jackie Steven is a specialist Housing Advisor working at the contact centre in Cardiff; she is on hand to offer 1-2-1 support to veterans and their families and is encouraging anyone who is confused, worried or threatened by housing problems to seek help early. Jackie spoke about her role:
“I have been helping serving and ex-serving personnel and their families with housing issues for a number of years now and as a spouse of an army veteran I understand how challenging these issues can be. I know that housing issues can be really confusing and the amount of information available can be overwhelming. In my role I can listen to individual circumstance and give the best options available. In my experience, the earlier you seek help and advice, the easier it will be to address your housing needs.”
Army veteran Josh, spent six years serving with the Royal Engineers. He joined in 2011 at the age of 20 and spent time on tour in Canada, Germany, Cyprus and Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, Josh was medically discharged in August 2017. After a potential flatmate let Josh down, he ended up living in a caravan. He heard about Stoll at his Personal Recovery Unit and was recommended to apply to their Veterans’ Nomination Scheme.
Army veteran Josh in his new home found by Veterans’ Gateway
“Within 6 weeks of first applying to the VNS, I had the keys to my flat. I wanted a property in London because the job prospects are better here and I even have a garden for my rescue dog Mowgli. Stoll sorted me out in six weeks when I was in dire straits – I couldn’t recommend them enough. I’m looking ahead to the future and I’m excited to see what it holds.”
Photo: Manchester Evening News
There are a number of housing partners that can be accessed via Veterans’ Gateway including:
Stoll: the leading provider of supported housing for Veterans. Our work enables vulnerable and disabled Veterans in need of support to live fulfilling, independent lives.
Alabaré: a charity that supports vulnerable, homeless and marginalised people. We help them transform their lives, providing accommodation and helping them gain the skills, confidence and opportunities to live a fulfilled life. www.alabare.co.uk
Haig Housing Trust: the UK’s largest charity providing housing to Veterans in need.
Seafarers’ Advice and Information Line (SAIL): provides free and confidential advice to Royal Navy and Royal Marines veterans, their families and carers. http://sailine.org.uk/
The Royal British Legion: provides life-long support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces and their families. www.britishlegion.org.uk
The Scottish Veterans’ Garden City Association (SVGCA): houses disabled veterans in Scotland. http://www.svgca.org.uk
Scottish Veterans Residences: a charity established in 1910 to provide accommodation and help for homeless veterans. www.svronline.org
Erskine: helps honour the ones who didn’t come home by helping care for the ones who did. Proud to have served the ex-Service community since 1916, the charity has now cared for over 85,000 veterans. https://www.erskine.org.uk/
“Veterans’ Gateway is available whether there is a simple question you need answering or you have a case that may need specialist care; contact the service and our experts will do the rest. Working with Shelter as our expert housing advice partner, our #HelpWithHousing campaign includes a range of handy top tips, useful videos, new housing law updates which will benefit veterans, FAQs and factual advice and information.
You can speak to one of our team by phone and email. Our number is Freephone in the UK. From overseas you will be called at a local call rate or you can select the Live Chat option to avoid any costs. Additionally, you can send direct messages on Twitter or Facebook.
Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including all bank holidays, to put you in touch with the right help you need quickly, or direct you to the right information you are looking for.
To contact Veterans’ Gateway call: 0808 802 1212 or visit: www.veteransgateway.org.uk or text: 81212″
More about Veterans’ Gateway
Veterans’ Gateway is a new service launched in response to Lord Ashcroft’s Veterans’ Transition Review that is a first point of contact for veterans, their families and carers who are in need of support. The new £2 million service is funded from the Covenant Fund allocated by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and will be delivered by a consortium comprising The Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress, Connect Assist, the Ministry of Defence and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity. Veterans’ Gateway represents a pathway to a full list of services from housing and recovery to mental health services, financial and employment advice. The service aims to reduce the confusion for veterans seeking support within the military charity sector and will ensure it can signpost to the right service for any need a veteran may present with.