Veterans Housing Scotland, the leading provider of homes for disabled veterans in Scotland, has today launched a campaign to secure 25 more homes for veterans in Scotland by 2025.
The charity, based in Edinburgh, currently has more than 650 homes across the country helping around 1,000 veterans and their families.
The campaign aims to raise awareness for the work of the charity while securing further homes for disabled veterans by 2025, the 110th anniversary of Veterans Housing Scotland.
Research recently undertaken by 56 Degree Insight for Veterans Housing Scotland has shown that –
- around a third of the population have personally ever been homeless or know someone who has been.
- Around 2 in 5 adults living in Scotland are personally or know someone who is a veteran, most often this is a family member.
- Most perceive/associate military veterans with Afghanistan, WW2, Iraq and/or the Falklands.
- Around 25% had seen or heard any coverage about military veterans in recent weeks, often related to the Queen’s funeral.
- Just over 50% are aware of the particular issue of homelessness amongst veterans and many see it as more important to address than homelessness in general.
Kevin Gray, Chief Executive of Veterans Housing Scotland and himself a veteran, said: ‘The results of our research into veterans and homelessness have shown that unless there is an issue involving the military then awareness for veterans generally and those organisations that provide homes is very low.
‘We also learned that there is some confusion around the roles of the various veterans’ charities which is a key reason for our campaign. Alongside continuing to speak with local authorities on the possibility of VHS being awarded nomination rights we are keen to share the history of the charity. We have a wonderful story to tell.’
‘25 New Homes for Veterans in Scotland by 2025’ features two VHS tenants, Hayden and Ros. Both found themselves in an unfamiliar situation after leaving the army. Their lives changed for the better when they were introduced to VHS.
Hayden (27) loved his time in the Army. After six years it was cut short due to a knee injury which meant a medical discharge.
He said: “I am grateful for the support of Veterans Housing Scotland. The charity has really helped improve our lives and given us a chance to build a decent future.’
Ros (47) joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served as a combat medic for six years. When her circumstances changed she found herself homeless with two children.
She said: “My life has definitely changed for the better since meeting Veterans Housing Scotland. As a result of having a stable homelife I have been able to get a new job and I am looking forward to the future.”
Posters featuring Hayden and Ros will run from 30th November alongside social media activity.
Kevin Gray continued: ‘This exciting and much needed campaign to provide more ‘nomination rights’ homes to Veterans Housing Scotland will reduce veterans’ homelessness and provide the added benefit of improving and maintaining veterans’ wellbeing through support from the Veterans Housing Scotland Tenancy Sustainment initiative.
‘Over the next three years, we will provide 25 more homes for veterans and their families. Still, we believe we can go even further and with the support and partnership of local authorities and housing provider partners we can, by 2025, secure agreements that will provide an additional 25 homes per year.
‘In addition to the 25 properties gained through nomination rights, the charity will build 13 homes to complete our houses for heroes appeal. Eight flats in Wishaw and five more homes in Broughty Ferry will be created. The developments will be the epitome of the charity’s ethos of a community within a community providing the ideal environment for comradeship and peer support for those who need it most.’
Veterans Secretary Keith Brown said: “I welcome this new campaign to help prevent homelessness for veterans.
“We are committed to preventing and ending homelessness, and are working with local authorities and partner organisations, including Veterans Housing Scotland to support veterans and their families across the country.
“This includes looking at what actions can be taken to progress the 24 recommendations from the Veterans Homelessness Prevention Pathway report which was published earlier this year.”
Scottish Veterans Commissioner Susie Hamilton commented: ‘This is a welcome campaign to help increase provision of suitable housing for Scotland’s veterans and we know that housing is a top concern in Service leavers’ minds, with over half leaving the Forces without having settled their housing requirements.
‘The SVCs housing report of June 2021 found that these challenges were exacerbated by a lack of suitable affordable housing, with some veterans forced to take on accommodation that doesn’t suit their needs. This can quickly impact on other areas of their lives. Partnership between charities, such as Veterans Housing Scotland, and social housing providers which enables veterans to be nominated for social tenancies is an effective approach to housing veterans which I fully endorse.”
Veterans Housing Scotland was established in Edinburgh over 100 years ago to provide homes for veterans who are disabled.
Today in Scotland, around 3% of all those assessed as homeless by local authorities are military veterans. The vast majority of those transitioning from military service do so without the need for further support however for some there will always be a need for ongoing assistance.
The main aim of Veterans Housing Scotland is to provide a safe and secure home in a supportive community for our veterans. From humble beginnings during the First World War the charity has evolved to become the most prominent charity providing homes for veterans in Scotland who are disabled.
For further information on Veterans Housing Scotland and to learn more about the ‘25 by 25’ campaign, please visit www.vhscot.org.uk