Uniting to fight homelessness
Working alongside likeminded charities and organisations, Stoll recently opened the door on the new No Homeless Veterans campaign, which aims to support all veterans in housing need
The No Homeless Veterans campaign was launched in September with the aim to reduce veterans’ homelessness to as close to zero as possible. It calls on local authorities, homelessness charities and advice agencies such as Citizens Advice, to ‘Think Veteran’ in order to identify former Service men and women and signpost them to the enhanced support services available to them.
The campaign is coordinated by Stoll, the UK’s leading provider of supported housing to vulnerable and disabled veterans, and led by the Cobseo (Confederation of Service Charities) Housing Cluster, which coordinates the response of charities to homeless veterans, and is funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).
The campaign will support those like Stoll veteran Mac McLaren (pictured on the right, above) to find help faster. Mac was an infantry soldier in the British Army for seven years (1998–2005), including three tours in Northern Ireland, two in Bosnia and one in Iraq.
When injuries forced Mac to leave Service life behind, he was distraught. Without the structure and discipline of the Army Mac became homeless, spending a year staying on friends’ sofas or sleeping in his car. He approached his local authority, Glasgow City Council, for social housing but was told he didn’t have enough housing points and was put at the bottom of the list.
Then in 2014 Mac’s marriage broke down and he again found himself homeless. He once again approached his local authority for housing help but yet again missed out on being housed because he was told he was not a priority case. (This was before the Armed Forces Covenant was put in place to protect veterans.) It wasn’t until Mac contacted Stoll that his needs were finally addressed. He says: ‘Within no time I had somewhere to call home and the safety net I needed to help me get my life back on track. The No Homeless Veterans campaign helps local authorities honour the pledge made in the Armed Forces Covenant and means veterans will no longer find themselves in the position I was in.
‘Before I found Stoll it felt like everyone had turned their back on me. I was in a very low place and felt like I had run out of options. I just wanted the same as anyone else – a place I could call home.’
Ed Tytherleigh, co-chair at the Cobseo Housing Cluster, comments: ‘Most veterans make a smooth transition from military to civilian life, but it is too easy for ex-Service personnel, especially younger veterans and early Service leavers, to end up homeless. We are calling on local authorities and advice agencies to support the No Homeless Veterans campaign, to identify veterans in housing need and channel them through to appropriate support as quickly as possible. Together, we can end this shameful but avoidable situation.’
The campaign is supported by Hon. Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes, double Olympic gold medallist and ex-Army Sergeant. She says: ‘No veteran should be homeless. Stable housing is key to helping adjust to all aspects of civilian life – work, family, health and well-being. I want to encourage others, and especially those on the front line dealing with homelessness, to “Think Veteran” and get ex-Service personnel in need of help to the support available to them.’
Stoll has been providing support to the Veteran community for more than 100 years and is here to support the next generation of Veterans. For more information about finding a home with Stoll or accessing support, please visit www.stoll.org.uk or call the Outreach Team on 020 7385 2110.
Stoll’s drop-in runs every second Wednesday of the month at its Fulham site (see above), in the Community Hall