London Mayor commits over £50k to homeless soldiers
Boris Johnson has joined forces with charity, Veterans Aid, to provide support for homeless ex-UK service personnel in London, as part of his on-going commitment to end rough sleeping in the capital.
The charity will receive £56,000 to provide emergency temporary accommodation for homeless veterans. This is in addition to £300,000 the Mayor has ring-fenced from his rough sleeping budget to support homeless veterans who have served in the UK Armed Forces. The funding will contribute to a programme that includes alcohol treatment as well as education and training projects.
Johnson said: “Although the number of veterans on our streets is thankfully low I’m determined to ensure that the small numbers who do end up sleeping rough have access to the right kind of services as fast as possible. Working with a specialist charity like Veteran’s Aid, we can make sure this happens and ensure that those who risked their lives keeping our country safe are given the support they need to turn their lives around.”
While UK veterans represent a small proportion of rough sleepers, the Mayor recognises that they often face a unique set of problems. There are around 4.5 million veterans in the UK and around 20,000 men and women leave the Armed Forces and become veterans every year. Veterans Aid receives around 3,000 calls and provides around 20,000 nights of accommodation per year.
Veterans Aid chief executive Dr Hugh Milroy said: "We have a strong track record of success and this will help us maintain our vital position as the frontline charity for social exclusion among veterans.”
The Mayor has committed over £34m to help end rough sleeping in London, including £9m this year. Working with the Government, boroughs and the voluntary sector he has pledged that no-one should call the streets their home. His pioneering No Second Night Out project, currently being rolled out across the UK following its success in London, has already helped hundreds into the services they need with three quarters of those new to the streets spending just a single night out – compared to 57% five years ago.