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Ex-service personnel to be fast-tracked for social housing

Ex-service personnel suffering from PTSD or other mental illnesses will be prioritised for social housing under new government proposals.

All applicants for social housing will now be asked if they have served in the forces at the outset of the process to ensure veterans get the help they are entitled to.

The measures will also help people who split from their partner in the forces. They are currently made to move out of military accommodation and can be denied social housing because they have not been resident in the area for long enough.

This becomes an issue if they have been the victim of domestic abuse and want to move to a new area.

Some councils already support people in this situation but government is consulting on publishing new guidance which will encourage councils to waive the residency rules.

Council staff will also get extra training so they can give current and former Armed Forces personnel the housing support they need.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: ‘We have a duty to ensure our heroic military personnel get the support they need when applying for a social home.

‘We want to see that applying for social property should not be a challenge in the transition from military service to civilian life.

‘These new measures are part of our continuing commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.’

Responding to the announcement, Ray Lock, CEO of Forces in Mind Trust, said: ‘Well over 1,000 men and women leaving the Armed Forces need urgent support to find accommodation every year.

‘Our research has shown that the advice given to veterans can be patchy.

‘We welcome these proposals, which will undoubtedly make a significant difference to those in most need. But we urge ministers to also ensure veterans feature in local authority housing strategies and appropriate advice is given to anyone applying for housing advice who is identified as a veteran.

‘That is the single most important step towards ending homelessness among those who have served our country.’

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