Service personnel with mental health issues likely to get housing priority

11 Jan 19

Former servicemen and women suffering from mental illnesses, such as post traumatic stress disorder, will be prioritised for social housing, under new proposals announced by the government.

If the plans go ahead, everyone applying for social housing will be asked at the start of the process whether they have served in the armed forces.

The new rules would also mean divorced partners of service personnel will no longer need to prove they are a local resident before they are eligible to apply for social housing.

People who split from their partners in the armed services can currently be refused for social housing because it is considered they have not been in the area long enough to be local.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “We have a duty to ensure our heroic military personnel get the support they need when applying for a social home.

“We want to see that applying for social property should not be a challenge in the transition from military service to civilian life.”

Council staff will be given extra training as part of the measures, which will now be subject to an eight-week consultation.

Sue Freeth, chief executive of veteran’s mental health charity Combat Stress, said: “Housing issues can act as a barrier to accessing treatment. In order to register with a GP and receive support, veterans need to have accommodation.

“Our own research shows veterans with mental health issues are at an increased risk of experiencing multiple deprivation. We hope the government follows through on these proposals to reduce that risk and improve veterans’ quality of life.”

Robin Bacon, chief of staff at ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, said: “It is imperative for our soldiers, especially those suffering with PTSD, to feel safe and supported when transitioning from the military to civilian life.

“Although the majority cope successfully, we are delighted to hear that those combating mental illness should be given the same priority for social housing as those with physical injuries.”

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