Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will announce new £20million funding to build and refurbish homes for homeless veterans at the Spring Statement as the government aims to deliver on a promise to end veteran homelessness.
The headline figure will be the £20m investment in the Veteran Capital Housing Fund to create newbuild homes and refurbished properties to house veterans.
A further £3m will go to support for veterans who received serious physical injuries during their service alongside £10m for the government’s Office for Veterans’ Affairs to boost service and engagement.
Jeremy Hunt said: “We all owe our veterans a huge amount of gratitude for defending democracy and keeping our country safe – and it’s only right that we provide them with all the support they need when they come home. This government is firmly on the side of our veterans, and this week I’ll set out a comprehensive package of policies that will solidify our enduring commitment to our ex-servicemen and women for years to come.”
The latest funding package follows on from December’s announcement of £8.5m to create 900 housing units across England as part of Op Fortitude – the government’s programme to end veteran homelessness.
Last month minister for veterans’ affairs Johnny Mercer told LBC that the number of homeless veterans was “manageable” and promised to ensure no ex-forces personnel would be without a home by the end of 2023.
He said: “There should not be any veterans involuntarily sleeping rough in this country by the end of this year, and you can hold me to that.”
Lee Buss-Blair, director of operations and group veteran lead at Riverside housing association, said the latest investment will “actively contribute” to achieving that goal.
“It’s come as a huge welcome surprise,” said Buss-Blair.
“Veteran accommodation is a really important part in ending veteran homelessness because it’s not good enough to just create a pathway into supportive housing, you need to be able to create a sustainable pathway out of supported housing. By investing in the veteran housing sector, you’re actively doing that.
“So that money will actively contribute to Op Fortitude achieving its goal of ending veteran homelessness.”
Around 5 per cent of the rough sleeping population has an armed forces background. according to official figures.