New research released today, Thursday 28th June, by The Directory of Social Change (DSC), funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), reveals that 78* Armed Forces charities deliver housing support to at least 11,600 beneficiaries annually, with charities spending at least £40 million on housing provision in the previous year.
47 charities provide accommodation services, collectively providing at least 4,700 properties across the UK, which have a total capacity to house at least 10,200 people.
Researchers of the report recommended further research on:
• Greater collaboration with organisations outside of the Armed Forces charities sector**.
• Armed Forces population density and differences in housing legalisation and policy in devolved regions.
The data would help charities to identify priority areas for service provision and determine whether current housing provision is meeting need.
Charities provided a wide range of accommodation types, which responded to different housing needs. Adapted housing and subsidised rental accommodation were the most common types of support, delivered by almost three-fifths of charities which own or manage accommodation.
Services extend beyond bricks and mortar
Support services play an important role in helping beneficiaries to secure and maintain suitable housing. Common support services included signposting and help with housing searches/applications. DSC found that almost half of the charities delivering housing support offered grants, the most common of which were awarded for home repairs and maintenance, and deposit payments.
A highly collaborative and responsive sector
DSC found small pockets of charities delivering highly directed services, including, housing for disabled or injured beneficiaries, sheltered living for elderly beneficiaries, and homeless shelters.
The sector adopted an impressively coordinated and co-operative approach to service delivery. 92% of survey respondents experienced benefits of partnership, and rates of collaboration with fellow Forces charities were high. Yet partnerships with mainstream charities, housing associations and the MOD were less common.
Initiatives such as the award winning Cobseo Housing Cluster, and the Veterans Housing Advice Office, serve as great examples of cross-sector collaboration. These models could be more widely adopted and more engaged with by the broader sector.
DSC Researcher and lead author, Rhiannon Doherty says: “Forces charities play a vital role in helping Serving personnel, veterans and their families to secure suitable housing. This report maps the diverse range of housing services delivered by Forces charities, revealing a small sub-sector, which adopts a highly responsive, coordinated and collaborative approach to housing provision.”
James Richardson and Ed Tytherleigh, Cobseo Housing Cluster Co-Chairs say: “On behalf of the Cluster, we are delighted to endorse and commend this report for anyone who wants to help homeless Veterans. We are very happy to support the recommendations made by the report and we take pride in leading on ever-deeper collaboration between Veterans’ housing providers.”
Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive Forces in Mind Trust says: “This latest in the series of Focus On reports provides an independent and thorough analysis of Armed Forces charities providing housing support. It is a highly credible piece of research, and a ‘must read’ for anyone setting policy or delivering services around housing, or indeed anyone with an interest in the positive transition of ex-Service personnel into civilian life.”
Focus On: Armed Forces Charities’ Housing Provision is the fourth of six reports from DSC, which provide detailed information on Armed Forces charities’ support for key areas of need. You can read the full report here.
*The 78 charities represented in this report equate to around 6.5% of all UK Armed Forces charities
**Over one-third of charities partnered with both non- Armed Forces charities (37%) and local authorities (36%). Partnerships with the MOD and housing associations were less common (17% and 18% respectively).