Homeless advice for veterans

Young male soldier black and white

If you're leaving the armed services, or you are a former member, you may be entitled to extra help if you become homeless.

Further information

You may be able to get help from Leicester City Council if you are a former member of the armed forces and are homeless or threatened with homelessness. We must consider whether we can help you using both general rules that apply to everyone and special rules that apply to people who were in the forces.

The armed forces covenant

The armed forces covenant was published in May 2011 by central government. The covenant is about removing disadvantages so armed service personnel, past and present, get the same treatment and access to services as the civilian community. It is based on four themes:

  • encouraging local communities to support their local armed forces community and vice versa
  • promoting public understanding and awareness of issues that affect the armed forces community
  • recognising the sacrifices made by the armed forces community
  • encouraging activities which help integrate the armed forces community into local life.

We pledged our support in 2013 with a particular focus on respect and remembrance. You can find out more about the covenant by visiting our armed forces covenant web page.

General rules for people in priority need

It can be easier to get help if you qualify under the general rules for people in priority need, for example if you have dependent children or are pregnant.

We will also look to see if you are vulnerable in some way.  This may involve showing how a disability, mental health problem, addiction or other issue effects your ability to secure housing for yourself compared with other people who are rendered homeless.

Extra homelessness rules for the armed forces

You should also be treated as being vulnerable and therefore in priority need for accommodation if you can show that your vulnerability is as a result of being a former member of the armed forces.

When deciding this, we may consider:

  • how long you were in the forces and what role you had
  • if you spent any time in a military hospital
  • if you were released from service on medical grounds (and have a Medical History Release Form)
  • if you have had accommodation since leaving service and if you have been able to obtain or maintain accommodation since you left
  • how long it has been since you left service

To help support your case, you may need to provide medical evidence from the MOD, including a Medical History Release Form (if you were given one). It can be hard to establish that you are vulnerable.

Get help early

Contact our Housing Options Service if you think you will be homeless after discharge from the services. Provide a letter of discharge or some other evidence that confirms the date of your discharge from the forces.  At that point, we should accept that from the date of discharge you will become homeless. If you have not asked for any housing help from us prior to your discharge from the forces, you may need to stay in your accommodation as long as possible and wait for Defence Estates to evict you.

Defence Estates have to give you a Notice to Vacate and if it is reasonable to do so, we may ask you to remain beyond the notice expiry date to wait for county court action, but this advice would only be given after careful consideration.

 You can use any Notice to Vacate and any possession order that is obtained against you as evidence in support of your homelessness application. 

Help finding housing in the private rented sector

The Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme is aimed at helping single customers and childless couples in finding a bedsit or 1-bed flat.  This is done by offering a guarantee for the deposit to landlords so you don’t have to find the money for this.

It is only available to customers facing homelessness who have a local connection to Leicester.

As the customer, you would need find a suitable place that you can afford.  This means the rent must be the same or less than the amount of Housing Benefit / Local Housing Allowance you can get.  If you do not how much you can get you can contact the Housing Benefit Service to find out.

Once you have found a place you can contact the Housing Options Service and we will talk to the landlord on your behalf and try to convince them to accept the scheme and rent the property to you.

Apply for a council or housing association home

As a longer-term alternative option, you could also think about applying for a council home or a housing association home.  People leaving the armed forces with no home to return to can be given priority status for accommodation on our housing register.

People that have already left can also get this priority status as long as they have left the Armed Forces within the last five years.

Please complete an online housing application.

Ex-forces, other help

Many single homeless people don't qualify for help from us or any other local authority. There is a range of services for people who find themselves homeless and on the streets, for example:

  • SSAFA provide housing advice to people currently serving in the forces and ex services personnel and their families.
  • Veterans Gateway can support ex-forces members with healthcare and housing issues, and also give advice about employability, finances, personal relationships and more. Veterans’ Gateway can also be contacted 24/7 on 0808 802 1212.
  • Veterans Housing Advice (VHA) is a new service which provides clear pathways for ex-service personnel in housing need throughout the UK to move into permanent homes. It can, for example, provide a housing intervention that negates the need to consider a rent bond or rent deposit.

It is provided in partnership with the Royal British Legion, Shelter and Connect Assist. Its main aim is to make accessing the services of charities easier through a telephone helpline open seven days a week from 8am-8pm. The direct number to an advisor is 0808 801 0880. Services provided include:

  • Supported Accommodation - providing temporary accommodation for veterans, with support.
  • Long Term Housing - providing settled accommodation for veterans, with or without support.
  • General Needs - Unsupported housing for members of the ex-Service community unable to buy or rent on the open market. Tenants will usually be self-sufficient, but may need to avail themselves of some of the floating support listed. Some adapted properties may be available or adaptations arranged as necessary.
  • Floating Support - Services delivered by visiting workers to people in their own homes to help people maintain their settled accommodation.
    • Outreach Services - Covering work with rough sleepers or people in temporary accommodation to help them access more settled accommodation and any support needs.
    • Day Centres - The provision of activities and support to homeless and vulnerably housed people. (Also called by some providers 'drop-in' facilities)
  • Amicus Trust is a Registered Charity that supports the single homeless community. They might be able to arrange supported accommodation. 

Help finding housing in the private rented sector

The Rent Deposit Guarantee Scheme is aimed at helping single customers and childless couples in finding a bedsit or 1-bed flat.  This is done by offering a guarantee for the deposit to landlords so you don’t have to find the money for this.

It is only available to customers facing homelessness who have a local connection to Leicester.

As the customer, you would need find a suitable place that you can afford.  This means the rent must be the same or less than the amount of Housing Benefit / Local Housing Allowance you can get.  If you do not how much you can get you can contact the Housing Benefit Service to find out.

Once you have found a place you can contact the Housing Options Service and we will talk to the landlord on your behalf and try to convince them to accept the scheme and rent the property to you.

Apply for a council or housing association home

As a longer-term alternative option, you could also think about applying for a council home or a housing association home.  People leaving the armed forces with no home to return to can be given a priority status for accommodation on Leicester City Council’s Housing Register. People that have already left can also get this priority status as long as they have left the Armed Forces within the last 5 years. Please complete an online housing application.