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Nearly 400 homeless veterans given a home under government operation

12 December 2023, 08:47 | Updated: 12 December 2023, 08:57

Nearly 400 homeless veterans have been given a home under a government operation.
Nearly 400 homeless veterans have been given a home under a government operation. Picture: Alamy
Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

LBC can reveal that the government's scheme to end homelessness among veterans has resulted in 398 former service personnel being given a “roof over their head”.

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The initiative, led by the Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer, came after the former British Army Captain pledged on LBC back in February to “end Veterans' homelessness this year”.

He told Nick Ferrari: "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!"

The government minister has since hailed the programme as a success. Speaking to LBC, Mr Mercer said: “Since we started this programme as of today 398 have been given accommodation, I’ve bought 910 supported housing placements.

Read more: 'You can hold me to it!': Minister pledges to end homelessness among armed forces veterans this year

“LBC have always covered and supported this issue really well. If there are veterans sleeping rough in your community, please do let us know.

“Essentially what they get is not only a roof over their head which is our first priority, but then it’s key to tackle those underlying causes of why they are sleeping rough."

He added: “It’s not just about a home, it’s about a programme to get them back on their feet, getting them back into society and ready to fulfil the potential we all know veterans have.”

Read more: Homeless man, 25, 'hardly slept' after his sleeping bag was soaked by McDonald's security guard

Read more: Under-fire Rishi Sunak to hold last-ditch talks with rebel Tory MPs ahead of crunch Rwanda vote

Johnny Mercer doesn't want to see a 'single' involuntarily sleeping rough homeless veteran

The programme is called ‘Op Fortitude’ by the government and was allocated £8.55 million in funding to increase veterans-supported housing to eliminate former service personnel sleeping on Britain’s streets - including a dedicated veterans hotline which launched in July.

Johnny Mercer told LBC: “I’ll certainly be going round as much as I can over Christmas to make sure there are no veterans sleeping rough due to a lack of provisions, and I’m determined we will reach that end state.”

However, pressed on whether meeting his target was “mission accomplished”, the Minister added: “Saying mission accomplished is usually the death knell of any politician, we have met ‘the need’ so far but ‘the need’ is very difficult to nail down and articulate."

“We have the capacity to deal with it, I want to find all of these people, go out there, wrap an arm round them, get them into sheltered accommodation and improve their lives.”

To refer a homeless veteran, or to self-refer, the hotline for Op Fortitude is 0800 952 0774 or you can visit the secure portal at riv.org.uk/opfortitude.

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