Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) is launching its Policy Statement on Housing today [25 August] which sets out a range of policy proposals to enable Service leavers and their families to access good quality and affordable housing.
The Policy Statement adds to FiMT’s Housing Programme which funds projects that generate evidence and insights into the housing needs of Service leavers and their families, including those with particular accommodation needs or vulnerabilities, and projects that help to increase understanding of what information and guidance is of most use to Service personnel and their families once they leave the Armed Forces.
FiMT sets out key policy recommendations in the Statement that are essential to ensuring all Service leavers and their families are able to access good quality, affordable, secure and sustainable accommodation solutions. These include:
· Earlier identification of vulnerable Service personnel by the MOD to ensure preventative support is provided and the risk of unsuccessful or difficult transition is minimised.
· Better information on vacating Service Family Accommodation (SFA). Providing clearer, concise information on leaving SFA would support better planning for the move to civilian housing.
· Equipping ex-Service personnel and their families with the necessary knowledge, skills and awareness of the civilian housing and rental market, and the financial planning and personal budgeting required, to achieve a sustainable accommodation solution.
· Increased knowledge and awareness of the impact of transition on the Service community among housing support providers.
· Improved understanding across all housing providers of the housing support needs of ex-Service personnel who have an increased likelihood of encountering housing difficulties.
Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“From our previous work and research we know how critical it is for Service leavers and their families to secure suitable civilian housing. It is one of the key components in making a successful transition from the Armed Forces to civilian life.
“While great progress has been made, we know there is still some way to go. We need to ensure that there is a more coordinated approach between the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Ministry of Defence, the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and the devolved administrations in order to ensure a unified approach to housing policy development and implementation for the ex-Service community. Our #NoHomelessVeterans campaign showed that individual local authorities are willing to implement our more practical proposals, and we hope that policy makers will adopt a similar collaborative approach.”