Defence secretary extends veterans housing offer

The Defence Secretary has extended the veteran’s housing offer, meaning that armed forces personnel can access military accommodation a year after they leave.

Current housing offer rules allow military personnel to stay in accommodation up to six months after they leave active service. This will now be extended to 12 months and applies to servicemen and women as well as their families.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Having a place to call home is an important part of the return to civilian life, but there can sometimes be a lot to think about when hanging up your uniform for the last time.”

“By extending the service family offer we hope to give families more time to make the transition that much easier. This is another example of how we continue to support the brave men and women who have served our country.”

The extension will be subject to availability, but the Government also offers support for finding housing. Other services for veterans are being expanded, including in healthcare, employment, and education support.

Housing services offered by the Government include the Joint Service Housing Advice Office and the Veterans UK Agency, which offer advice to veterans. Ex-service personnel also have priority access for social housing and a five-year exemption from having to prove a local connection to access it.

They can also borrow up to 50% of their salary – a maximum of £25,000 – to buy their first home under the Forces Help to Buy Scheme. The Homelessness Reduction Act of 2017 also highlights that the MOD has a “duty to refer” veterans at risk of homelessness to a local housing authority.

The MOD sub-lets some vacant accommodation to the general public as short-term lets to generate income. Properties are available at market rates on over 60 sites.

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