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

22 February 2023, 08:41 | Updated: 22 February 2023, 08:43

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

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

A Government Minister has vowed to end homelessness amongst Armed Forces veterans this year.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Johnny Mercer made the pledge while speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"I tell you what, Nick, we are going to end Veterans' homelessness this year, through a project called Op Fortitude," explaining the project would end rough sleeping among military veterans.

Mr Mercer told Nick the number of homeless ex-forces personal was not as high as people think they are saying the issue is "manageable."

"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!"

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The Office for Veterans’ Affairs recently announced Op Fortitude, a single referral scheme for homeless veterans to access support and housing. Along with more than £8.5 million in funding for services in veterans-supported housing, the scheme will support ending veteran homelessness by the end of 2023.

The most recent rough sleeping figures for London, the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain), found 5% of the people counted on the streets of the English capital had an armed forces background.

But the government’s rough sleeping strategy, published in September 2022, revealed 6% of UK nationals who were street homeless served in the armed forces, according to the government’s national questionnaire on the subject.

Government estimates suggest there are 2.4 million veterans in the UK and reports suggest only a small minority of veterans become homeless.

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