Earlier planning and better coordination required to tackle armed forces’ housing challenges, new research says

housing health homelessness stockThe results of a study highlighting the housing advice, information and support pathways experienced by the armed forces community have been published by Housing Options Scotland (HOS).

The unique piece of research was commissioned by The Scottish Government Veterans Fund, with the objective of providing robust learnings from those at different stages in the armed forces.

HOS initially looked at survey responses from 116 adults aged between 25 and 74, with the largest group of respondents being men (87%) who had served or were still serving in the Army (71%).

The results showed that a large majority of participants did not receive any housing advice or support while serving (81%), while in transition (68%), or after leaving the forces (63%). Interestingly, of those who received advice, positive feedback was higher for those who had received support while serving (62%) or in transition (70%) compared to those who had already left the armed forces (38%). This finding clearly demonstrates that the earlier a housing plan is prepared, the better the outcome for those concerned.

Following the initial survey carried out in December 2016, HOS also conducted a focus group in March 2017 where 14 people were interviewed in more depth about their experiences. The study indicated that more education is needed for those serving in the armed forces and veterans, to help them plan for their future housing needs.

The study also revealed that more should be done to share best practice in housing information, advice and support, between organisations, military, civilian, statutory and charitable. It was also noted that services need to be tailored to suit individuals and their families, as this is a distinct group with unique life experiences.

Moira Bayne, CEO of Housing Options Scotland, said the research will be a useful tool for everyone working in the armed forces community and the housing sector.

Moira said: “People serving in and veterans of the armed forces need to be told more about planning for their future housing needs.

“Resources should be better coordinated and tailored as there is some help available.”

Moira added: “We see too many veterans coming to HOS feeling lost and abandoned by society. They often have unrealistic expectations of the housing sector. They may not have saved and planned appropriately for their future housing needs while serving, and are therefore more vulnerable and at risk of homelessness.”

To view or download a PDF file of the report click here: Finding Your Home on Civvy Street

To view or download a Word copy of the report click here: Finding Your Home on Civvy Street

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