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're:

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

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 can help 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

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

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

The council should:

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.  

How the council can help

The council must carry out an assessment of your housing needs if you are homeless now or likely to be homeless within the next 8 weeks. 

The assessment includes looking at what accommodation you can afford and any support you might need.

They also draw up 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 housing

You may qualify for emergency housing if you are classed as being in priority need for housing. 

You have a priority need for housing for housing if you:

  • are pregnant or a partner you live with is pregnant
  • have dependent children who live with you
  • are under 21 and spent time in care when you were 16 or 17

You also have a priority need if you're classed as 'vulnerable'. This means it's harder for you to cope with being homeless than other people in the same situation.

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

Show the council your Medical History Release Form if you have one. 

Longer-term housing 

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

The council doesn't have to help with longer-term housing if you lost your home because of something you deliberately did or didn't do. 

This is called being 'intentionally homeless' and could apply if:

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

A council or housing association home

You can apply to go on the housing register of any council if you left the armed forces within the last 5 years. You can apply to as many councils as you want.

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 husband, wife or civil partner died in service.    

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

Help with housing costs

If you're on a low income and need help to pay rent you can apply for universal credit.

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 - 03 Apr 2018

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