Help if you’re homeless: veterans

Get help finding somewhere to live if you've left or are about to leave the military and have nowhere to stay.

Help from the military

You can get specialist advice from the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) housing advice service - the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) - before you leave the forces. 

The JSHAO also runs the MOD referral scheme which may help you to find a housing association home. You can apply if you are:

  • married or a separated spouse still in services family accommodation (SFA)
  • single and living in a hostel within 6 months of leaving the forces 

Find out more about the scheme on GOV.UK.

The MOD also run the Veterans UK helpline which gives advice to veterans in a crisis.  

Help from military charities

Veterans' Gateway is the first point of contact for veterans seeking support. It's made up of a number of military charities and can put you in touch with organisations who can help further. 

Contact Veteran's Gateway on 0808 802 1212 (24 hours, 365 days a year) 

If you're at risk of homelessness or rough sleeping, you can get help finding accommodation from:

The following specialist housing associations provide longer-term housing for veterans: 

  • Stoll (supported housing for vulnerable veterans)
  • Haig Housing (general needs housing for ex-service single people and families)

Apply to the council for housing

The MOD gives you a Certificate of Cessation of Entitlement 6 months before you leave the forces. It contains the date that you stop being entitled to forces accommodation.

Apply to the council for help with housing when you receive the certificate if you think you might be homeless on discharge. 

The council should:

  • treat you as 'threatened with homelessness' 28 days before the certificate expires
  • look into your situation and decide how it has to help 

You can stay in forces accommodation beyond the date in the certificate if you have nowhere else to go. The MOD will have to issue a 93-day Notice to Vacate.  

Emergency housing

One of the qualifying conditions for emergency housing is being in priority need. 

You have a priority need for housing if you have children or a pregnant woman in your household.

If you don't have children, you're usually only in priority need if you're classed as 'vulnerable'. This could be as a result of being in the military.

It's important to tell the council about anything that makes it harder for you to cope with being homeless. This could be a medical condition or mental illness.

Tell the council if you:

  • had a front-line role
  • are disabled or seriously injured
  • were released on medical grounds

Longer-term housing when homeless

If you qualify for longer-term housing when homeless, you usually have to spend some time in temporary accommodation.

You might not get help with temporary accommodation if you leave housing you could have stayed in. This is called being 'intentionally homeless' and applies if you:

  • get discharged on disciplinary grounds 
  • leave your forces accommodation before you have to

A council or housing association home

If you have urgent housing needs, you should get extra priority on the housing register for a council or housing association home if you:  

  • previously served in the regular forces 
  • have a serious injury, illness or disability relating to your current service in the regular or reserve forces

You should also get extra priority if you have to leave services family accommodation (SFA) because your spouse or civil partner has died in service.    

You might have to bid for suitable properties once you're on the housing register.

Help with housing costs

You might be able to get housing benefit to help pay your rent. In some areas you'll have to claim universal credit instead. 

If you try and find private rented housing, you may get help with the up-front costs from a rent deposit scheme.

You can apply for help with food, heating and clothing from a local welfare scheme.

Find a scheme near you:

Last updated - 18 Sep 2017

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