Salford service reaches out to ex-Armed Forces as growing number face homelessness

An increasing number of ex-servicemen and women are facing homelessness, according to a report by a Salford-based support service.

To mark today’s Armed Forces Day, Salford’s Supported Tenancies Service has also stated revealed one in ten homeless people in the UK have a military background.

Salix Homes, which delivers the service on behalf of Salford City Council, said that they want to make people aware of the support available for anyone falling on hard times.

Mike Wright, head of housing choice at Salix Homes, said: “As we prepare to mark Armed Forces Day this weekend, I would like to remind any ex-forces personnel in Salford that help and support is out there and to get in touch with the Supported Tenancies Service.”

Giving the example of Caroline, a 55-year-old mother of three who left the Army in 1982, Mike described the tough situation some ex-military personnel were finding themselves in.

He said: “Our Supported Tenancies Service helps people from all walks of life, who have for one reason or another fallen on hard times, but we have seen an increase in ex-armed forces personnel requiring our services in Salford.

 “For many leaving the forces, it can be very difficult adjusting to civilian life when you have been used to such a regimented regime.

“It’s a travesty that men and women who have served their country find themselves in a homeless situation, but we are here to help people, like Caroline, get their lives back on track.”

Caroline joined the RAOC Regiment at the age of 19, but found herself without a home in 2006 following the break-down of her marriage.

She said: “I had gone through a really bad couple of years and I had a breakdown. I got into rent arrears and I ended up losing my home.

“It was a very difficult time in my life, I’d gone from always having a roof over my head to not knowing where I was going to sleep at night.

“Thankfully I never actually slept on the streets, but I spent five years sofa surfing between my friends and family.”

Caroline was eventually referred to the Supported Tenancies Service, who helped her find a flat and acquire essentials like a cooker and a bed.

Her story took another turn in 2013 when, after two years in her new flat, Caroline was the victim of a house fire.

“I lost everything, photos, memories, everything I owned, but once again the Supported Tenancies Service was there for me and helped me get back on my feet,” she said.

“They got me a food parcel and helped me get grants to replace my possessions – they were just brilliant.”

Speaking about the up-surge in service men and women seeking help, Caroline explained that it can be easy to find yourself not knowing what do when you leave the military.

She said:  “I’m in a good place in my life now, but it doesn’t surprise me to hear that more and more ex-forces personnel are finding themselves in hard times like I was.

“When you get out of the army you just don’t know where to turn, and if it wasn’t for the Supported Tenancies Service in Salford who knows where I would be today – it would be a very different story.”

If you would like to contact Salix Homes Supported Tenancies Service, you can do so on 0161 607 1620.

Picture courtesy of Jim Fischer, with thanks.

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