A report published at The House of Commons earlier on this week looks beneath the headlines of increasing homelessness in the UK, to understand the problems facing a small, but significant minority of Armed Forces Veterans who are ending up on our streets…

The report “Research into the housing-related support needs of homeless veterans” looks at what makes some ex-Armed Forces personnel more susceptible to homelessness than the vast majority who make a successful transition to civilian life, and how organisations can best meet their needs.

The charity behind the report, Alabaré Christian Care & Support, have been providing supported housing and successfully transforming the lives of homeless and vulnerable people in the South and South West of England and Wales for the last 25 years. Eight years ago they opened their first Home for Veterans, and since then have grown this provision to 24 homes, helping over 200 homeless Veterans each year. Their experience, across both types of homeless provision, has put them in a unique position to look what can be learnt from providing Veteran only homes.

Alabaré Patron and Former Chief of the General Staff for the British Army, General the Lord Dannatt was disappointed at not being able to attend the launch due to ill health but released the following statement: “The problems facing Veterans are not unique, however what this report has begun to examine is how their chosen military career has impacted with those factors in those personnel who eventually become homeless. The report reflects what we are seeing is a significant number of Veterans who have problems that pre-date their time in the Forces.

"This could be poverty, social deprivation, relationship breakdown or even childhood abuse. For some people, the Armed Forces offer a temporary escape, putting their previous lives into suspended animation; only for the problems to resurface once they return to their civilian life.”

Andrew Lord, Chief Executive of Alabaré said: "As a charity providing supported housing to a wide range of people in need, this report helps us to see why Veterans who find themselves homeless value the specialist housing provision that we have available to them.

“It is clear from the interviews in this research how much residents value the camaraderie of fellow ex-personnel and the shared understanding of military culture – this bonding helps support them through their difficulties and re-integration back to civilian life. Our teams at Alabaré seek to help them develop ‘social capital’ and support residents to engage in community based activities such as volunteering and training to give them a fresh sense of belonging to this their new community.

"Working in partnership is key to success in helping our vulnerable Veterans. Alabaré is very grateful for the support that we receive from Military funders such as The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and the Armed Forces Covenant (LIBOR) Fund, without whose grants we could not help over 200 homeless Veterans each year. However, we still need greater integration, and we are calling on MPs, statutory agencies, charities and the Armed Forces to work together to meet the needs of vulnerable Veterans who are slipping through the net.”

One such Veteran who has been helped by Alabaré’s approach is 47 year old William who served with The Adjutant General’s Corps in the British Army. He was medically discharged due to poor mental health. Due of his illness William found life hard to cope with. He fell out with his friends and family and became socially isolated. He found himself with nowhere to go and became homeless.

After sleeping rough for 6 weeks William was referred to Alabaré’s Homes for Veterans , he had found the help he needed. Since then William has come on leaps and bounds; he has rediscovered his confidence, motivation and purpose.

William said: “Alabaré gave me the help I needed to get off the streets. I cannot thank them enough. The friendly and supportive environment at the project has given me the stability I need to move on. I am applying for jobs and looking forward to the future.”