A grant of £120,745 has been awarded to the University of Stirling, for a 24-month study to review existing evidence and develop new research to improve collaboration between public and third sector agencies to achieve better housing outcomes for ex-service personnel…

Previous research has identified that a significant issue for ex-Service personnel is access to housing and that they are thought to be over-represented in the homeless population. As Armed Forces personnel have to give up their Service housing when they transition into civilian life, access to social housing is likely to be a key issue. Whilst most make a successful transition into civilian life, for some the transition can be difficult and access to housing can present a significant challenge for this group. Housing is fundamental to a person’s health, well-being, employment prospects, relationships and ability to participate in society.

The principal aim of this research project is to examine how service providers can work together more effectively to improve access to housing for those leaving the Armed Forces, and the wider ex-Service community.

By utilising a co-production approach to working collaboratively with service providers, the project aims to support the use of existing evidence in improving practice; collect new data on ‘what works in effective collaboration’; and to make further recommendations for continuing improvement in inter-agency collaboration to meet the housing needs of ex-Service personnel. It will utilise new and already established networks to support the implementation of recommendations.

The research project will be conducted by Dr Christine Robinson, Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling, and supervised by Professor Isobel Anderson, Chair in Applied Social Science (Housing Studies) at the University of Stirling.

Dr Christine Robinson, said: “The University of Stirling is delighted to be given this funding opportunity provided by the Forces in Mind Trust to undertake this research project. The idea for this project had been developed over a number of years based on my experiences from being part of the wider military veteran’s community, past employment with the MoD, and working very recently in this area of practice. Yet, most predominately it has evolved from the findings from my recently completed PhD. I am very excited about the prospect of taking my academic work into practice.”

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Securing housing can be a significant challenge facing ex-Service personnel during their transition to civilian life. Collaboration between public and third sector agencies is essential to achieve better housing outcomes. Our recent research with Veterans’ charity Stoll, social housing provider Riverside and the Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York, has already made, and seen implemented, some substantial policy recommendations.

"Stirling’s project will complement this earlier work, and hence make a significant contribution to FiMT’s aim to enable the successful transition of Armed Forces personnel, and their families, into civilian life.”