Helping homeless veterans in East Sussex

From: Bernard Stonestreet, East Sussex Veterans Hub, Harold Place

May I applaud the publication of COBSEO’s letter relating to the ‘No Homeless Veterans’ campaign they are supporting. As a result, I wish to inform our local communities and local statutory bodies of our military charity that is and has been on hand to help local veterans when homeless or in need.

There are many, often complicated, reasons why ex-service persons find themselves homeless, no different from anyone else in the community. They face challenges, relationship breakups, mental ill-health (including, PTSD) and such. Involvement with the criminal justice system maybe another common factor, all creating an unnatural situation that may seem hopeless. For many veterans their transition back into the community may have been a barrier for them because of their military culture. This may last for years, not just following their discharge from service.

Locally, the East Sussex Veterans Hub (ESVH), a registered charity established in 2016, provides a single point of contact for any veteran in need. We will assess every individual case and either provide direct support, including completion of forms and if necessary accompanying clients to interviews, plus for those with mental health issues a direct link to the Veterans Mental Health Service (NHS) or link them with other organisations such as SSAFA and the like. Under certain circumstances funding is available from military charities to support rehousing costs, advance rent, deposits and furnishings. These are grants, rather than loans so there is no burden on income because of repayments, at a time when every penny counts A veteran is a person who has served one day in HM Forces, which includes National Servicemen and Reserves.

We have all experienced a glorious Summer. Being ‘in the woods’ may have been a pleasant option for any typical ex-service veteran, particularly those who served in the infantry. Now winter looms, life may be more difficult, so should you be or know of veteran that is homeless or ‘sofa surfing’ or indeed in need of assistance, encourage them to contact ESVH on 01424 446292. If on answerphone kindly leave a contact number and name and your call will be returned. Alternatively, drop in the office, which is open Monday, Tuesday and Friday mornings.