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 and help finding somewhere to live from the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO). This is the Ministry of Defence's (MOD) housing advice service. 

You can get help before and after you leave the forces.

The JSHAO can also pass your details to the MOD referral scheme to help you find a housing association home. Find out more about the scheme on GOV.UK.

Help from military charities

Help finding housing is also available from:

Apply to the council for housing

If you're homeless, you can apply to the council for help with housing. You can do this:

  • up to 28 days before you leave the forces
  • when you get the certificate that tells you when you need to leave military housing (known as the 'cessation of entitlement' certificate)

If you have nowhere to stay, you may get help with emergency housing while the council looks into your situation.

Find out more about how to apply to the council for help when homeless.

Who qualifies for help from the council

Help you can get from the council depends on your circumstances.

One of the conditions for qualifying for help is being in priority need of housing. This applies if you have children.

If you don't have children, you may be in priority need of housing if you are 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 any of the following apply to you:

  • you had a front-line role
  • you're disabled or seriously injured
  • you were released on medical grounds (you need a Medical History Release form)
  • you find it difficult to find or keep housing

Longer-term housing

If you apply as homeless, you don't qualify for longer-term housing if you leave housing you could have stayed in. This is called being 'intentionally homeless' and applies if you:

  • get discharged on disciplinary grounds (also known as 'dishonourable discharge')
  • leave your forces housing before you have to

Find out more about who qualifies for help from the council when homeless.

Help with housing costs

You might be able to get housing benefit to help pay your rent. Find out how to apply for housing benefit on GOV.UK.

If you try and find private rented housing, you may get help paying the tenancy deposit from:

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

Still need help?

If you still need help, call the free Shelter helpline on 0808 800 4444.


Last updated - 01 Jan 2016

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