200 of the Capital’s homeless veterans have been helped off the streets in the past year, thanks to funding from the Mayor of London.
The 300k cash was agreed following costed proposals by GLA Conservatives Budget spokesman Gareth Bacon.
So far in 2013/14, an estimated £236k has been spent on helping homeless veterans into temporary hostels, long term supported accommodation as well as employment and training.
“Sadly, there are people returning home from military service who are suffering from a range of social problems including homelessness, and we owe it to them to help them get back on their feet, lead an independent life and integrate in society. I’m pleased to say, that after consistent campaigning, I managed to secure £300k from the Mayor to help homeless veterans. This cash is already making a difference in their lives, indeed in the past year 200 veterans have been helped with treatment, temporary hostel accommodation and long term supported accommodation, as well as training and employment opportunities. But our work cannot stop here. Charity Veterans Aid has seen 447 homeless veterans approach their drop-in service between April and December 2013. I will now be working closely with the Mayor to make sure this funding continues in future years and to bolster the training and employment opportunities available for homeless veterans to help prevent homelessness in the future.”
David Tovey, 39, said:
"I was in the army for six years, serving at home and abroad, mostly as a chef. After leaving the army in 1997, I opened a bar and restaurant and was head chef at various high quality venues for many years. Then I had a stroke and had to stop work. I was diagnosed with colon cancer and am HIV+ and suffered a heart attack during treatment. I had chemo and the cancer is in remission but after all this, I became severely depressed and in 2012 tried to kill myself five times in one week. I wasn't working but trying to study so I was getting into rent arrears and didn't know what to do. I ended up sleeping in my car at first and then on the streets in London for four months. A parking attendant noticed me and let local outreach workers know about me. They were able to help me into housing via the Mayor’s No Living on the Streets scheme, delivered by St Mungo's. That team gave me a place to stay, helped me with access to benefits, and supported me alongside the Pilion Trust and Veterans Aid into temporary housing at the West London Mission where I am now. The army teaches you to survive, so I survived but now I’m getting myself back together and moving on in my life.”
Notes to Editors:
– Since 1st April 2013, £236k has been spent on the following projects to help homeless veterans:
· Veterans Aid Emergency Accommodation Project: £42,000
· No Second Night Out scheme: £64,000
· No Living On the Street scheme: £18,000
· Homelessness Social Impact Bond: £22,000
· Other additional projects involving community organisations: £90,000
· A further £64,000 will be spent by 31st March 2014 for rough sleeping services for the benefit of homeless veterans. This will take the total for the financial year to over £300,000.