Skip to main content
Shelter Logo

Help if you’re homeless: veterans

The Ministry of Defence runs Veterans UK helpline on 0808 1914 218

Open from 8am to 4pm, Monday to Friday

They can provide help with benefits, housing and welfare.

Help from military charities

Veterans' Gateway helps with support. It's made up of a number of military charities and can put you in touch with support organisations.

Get help from Veteran's Gateway on 0808 802 1212

Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

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

These 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)

Private renting

Find out about options if you cannot afford a deposit or rent in advance.

Apply to the council for housing

6 months before you leave the forces, the MOD gives you a Certificate of Cessation of Entitlement. This has the date that you stop getting forces accommodation.

You can ask the council for help with housing when you get the certificate if you think you might be homeless on discharge.

The council should:

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

How the council can help

The council must assess your housing needs if you are homeless now or likely to be homeless within the next 8 weeks.

They also write a personal housing plan. This sets out the steps you and the council must follow to help you keep your home or find somewhere else to live.

Emergency and longer term housing

You should get emergency housing if the council thinks you are in priority need.

Find out who qualifies for longer term housing.

What is priority need?

You're in priority need for housing if you:

  • have dependent children who live with you

  • are pregnant or have a pregnant partner who you live with

  • are under 21 and spent time in care when you were 16 or 17

You also have a priority need if you are vulnerable. This means it's harder for you to cope with being homeless than other people in your situation.

Tell the council if you have:

  • a disability or other serious health problems

  • found it hard to find somewhere to live since leaving the forces

Show the council your medical history release form if you have one.

A council or housing association home

You can apply to any council's housing register if you have left the forces within the last 5 years. You can apply to as many councils as you want.

By law, you must get extra priority on the waiting list if you're homeless and either:

  • you served in the regular armed forces

  • you're still in the regular or reserve forces and are seriously injured, ill or disabled because of your service

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

You can also apply for a housing association home through the MOD referral scheme if you're:

  • single, living in a hostel and left the forces in the last 6 months

  • a married or a separated spouse still in living in services family accommodation (SFA)

Help to pay your rent and other living costs

Universal credit housing element can help with rent if you're on a low income.

You need to apply for housing benefit instead if you stay in a hostel or some types of supported or temporary housing.

Find out where to get grants and emergency help with food and other costs.

Last updated: 3 August 2022

If you need to talk to someone, we'll do our best to help

Get help