The Communities Secretary announced the plan to prioritise social housing for veterans suffering from mental health conditions, ensuring our armed forces get the help they need.

Former service personnel suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other mental illnesses will be prioritised for social housing under proposals published for consultation by Communities Secretary.

This announcement was a couple of weeks ago but I took some time to speak to a local Gloucestershire woman who works closely with veterans and military families to find out how this will be received.

She said: ‘I am very excited that this is aiming to deliver exactly what is needed. All too often veterans without a visible injury are treated differently to those with an injury. I hear reports from ex-service personnel throughout the country so I can draw comparisons about how those with mental health issues have been treated differently to people with physical problems.’

She also said: ‘the excuse given [to veterans] about housing is that it does not impact their mental health as it is thought that they will have, for example, PTSD wherever they live. However, where they are living has a huge impact on their health and wellbeing which in turn impacts on the whole family and support network. Anything which helps veterans and their families is excellent and much needed. Those who were willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for the country should be looked after for all of their lives following service.’

A few notes:

  • The plans will mean all applicants for social housing will be asked if they have served in the Forces to make sure our armed forces receive the help they need.
  • Under the proposals from our eight week consultation, those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental illnesses could be treated in the same way as those with physical injuries, and get the priority they deserve.
  • We are also publishing new guidance which will encourage councils to waive the residency rules, so that people who split from a partner in the Forces are not denied social housing as a result of not being resident in their local area long enough. This should particularly support those who have been victims of domestic abuse.

This is all part of the commitment to ensure that the vast majority of veterans thrive in civilian life, we have a responsibility to ensure that any who do struggle as a result of their service – whether finding a job, getting on the property ladder or with mental health issues – get the support they need.

The consultation link is here: https://www.gov.uk/…/improving-access-to-social-housing-for…

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