MANCHESTER - 24th July | LONDON - 31st October
A serviceman holding a house key on a Ministry of Defence key fob.

Accessing ex servicemen housing schemes

The chances are that your housing needs will be different as a veteran to what they were when you were in the military. You may have been living in armed forces accommodation or in a specific location due to your service and need support to return back to your home town.

Either way, veterans are entitled to help with their housing options, which can range from advice and support to financial assistance. Finding information on appropriate housing schemes is a good place to start in exploring your options.

Where to get help with housing as a veteran

There are a number of organisations set up to help veterans, with housing being an area where they can offer guidance. As well as the likes of the Royal British Legion and Citizens Advice, the government’s Veterans Welfare Service and the Defence Transition Service can also be of assistance.

As every veterans’ experience and circumstances will be different, there are a variety of routes on offer. Understanding each one and weighing up how they can be of benefit to you as a former service member will enable you to find the right housing option after leaving the military.

What are the ex servicemen housing schemes?

The Armed Forces Covenant is a commitment to those who have served that they’ll be treated fairly and this extends to housing options. It has led to a selection of ex servicemen housing schemes being set up to ease the transition into civilian life.

Housing options to look into include:

Veterans’ Nomination Scheme for social housing

By partnering with social landlords, the Veterans’ Nomination Scheme for social housing matches service leavers with appropriate accommodation. This housing option is well suited to single veterans or couples without children as the properties are usually one-bedroom or studio flats. Applicants must be nominated by an affiliated organisation, before joining a waiting list to bid on properties when they become available.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) referral scheme

The MOD referral scheme also works to help service leavers find homes within social housing stock. It’s a popular option for veterans who have been living in service accommodation, with personnel able to start their application up to six months before their discharge date. The window is relatively short, however, as it closes six months after leaving the armed forces.

Haig Housing Trust

Haig Housing provides homes for the veteran community, with more than 1,500 houses spread across 50 locations within the UK. They are particularly appropriate for members of the army, navy or RAF who are likely to miss the camaraderie of living in service accommodation. The Haig Housing Trust also offers joint purchase properties for severely wounded or injured veterans.

How can ex servicemen benefit from housing schemes?

Among the benefits of accessing veterans housing schemes are having affordable rent; living in communities with other ex servicemen and women; and being offered advice and support on the transition from the military to civilian life, which can be more complex than just sorting out the practical requirements.

What is the application process for the ex servicemen housing schemes?

Every housing scheme for veterans will be slightly nuanced in its approach, but the general process tends to be referral, documentation and interview, credit and reference check, waiting list, bidding for properties, then offer of a lease. Most of the programmes allow you to start the process prior to being discharged from the military, so you can get your affairs in order.

What are the eligibility criteria for ex servicemen housing schemes?

While the criteria for each of the ex servicemen housing schemes will depend on the type of veterans they’re trying to help, all will require individuals to have served in the regular armed forces or been deployed operationally as a reserve force member.

The only exception to this is for families of veterans, who will also qualify through their service. Widows, widowers and separated partners can benefit from veterans housing help in most circumstances.

What documents are required to apply for ex servicemen housing schemes?

Advice on what documentation to submit will be provided by each individual scheme, but you’re likely to need:

  • Proof of eligibility – your veteran ID card for example
  • Application form – many of the schemes will help you fill this out
  • Income and expenditure form

What are the income criteria for ex servicemen to be eligible for housing schemes?

Many of the ex servicemen housing schemes offer affordable housing or social housing, meaning it’s important to have an income in order to cover your rent. There are a number of careers that are particularly well suited to former military personnel.

Other programmes are designed to help veterans who have been or are at risk of becoming homeless, so the income criteria will not apply. Income and expenditure forms will need to be completed for most schemes.

Where can veterans find support with their housing needs?

Service leavers can always turn to the Royal British Legion; SSFA – the armed forces charity; the RAF Benevolent Fund; the Army Families Federation; the Naval Families Federation; the RAF Families Federation; the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity; and COBSEO – the confederation of service charities for help.

Information and useful services for veterans seeking housing support

When it comes to specific housing advice and the schemes open to British armed forces personnel leaving the military, veterans, their families, widows, widowers and separated partners can turn to these pathways.

Defence Transition Services

Defence Transition Services offers housing assistance amongst other support to military leavers. Its advisors are furnished with all the latest housing options for veterans and can talk service leavers through the requirements of each and which ones will likely suit them.

Veterans’ Gateway

Contactable 24 hours a day, Veterans’ Gateway not only provides help with housing issues and homelessness, but also physical and mental health support, employment and finances. It can refer British armed forces personnel onto other specialist organisations where necessary.

Op Fortitude

Homeless veterans or those at risk of becoming homeless can be helped through Op Fortitude. It makes assessments of an individual’s needs, then offers various routes to sustaining a tenancy. Veterans, members of the public or by agencies including homelessness charities, veteran charities, local authorities, probation services and Defence Transition Service can make a referral into the pathway.

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