THE Royal British Legion has received a grant from the West Midlands Combined Authority to help Armed Forces veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The announcement coincides with Armed Forces Day.
During the pandemic the Royal British Legion has been working hard alongside local authorities to bring veterans rough-sleeping off the streets and into emergency accommodation.
However, the Legion is expecting a significant increase in demand for its crisis support services as Covid-19 support packages, including rent and mortgage relief agreements, come to an end.
The Legion says this could leave families and individuals with unmanageable debt and place them at very real risk of homelessness.
The £20,000 grant will support veterans, with up to £750 each, who through no fault of their own may have built up arrears and faced other difficulties as a result of the recent pandemic. The individual grants will help to pay for vital items such as a deposit for accommodation or first month’s rent, travel passes to find work, and basic furnishings.
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street said: “It is terrible to think that those who have given so much to our country can end up homeless. This partnership with the Royal British Legion and the grant from the WMCA will go some way to building on the work we have started already on preventing and designing out veterans’ homelessness.
“The work we will do together will help some of the region’s most vulnerable people get back on their feet, into safe accommodation and employment.”
Jane Britton, Area Manager for The Royal British Legion in the West Midlands said: “This fund will enable us to react quickly and provide support where it is most needed in these extraordinary times. People who never imagined they would need support from the Legion are turning to us for help, often in desperate circumstances and unable to meet their most basic daily living expenses.
“The men and women of the armed forces play an extraordinary role in guarding our freedoms, through protecting our country as well as through peacekeeping, conservation and humanitarian work. The nature of their work can bring challenges for both serving and ex-serving personnel and their families, who we also support. Tragically, for some daily life becomes an impossible struggle.”
For nearly 100 years, the Royal British Legion has been fighting on behalf of the Armed Forces community and believes that no-one who has served to protect our freedom should be disadvantaged because of the sacrifices they have made.
In addition to its work on behalf of WMCA the Royal British Legion provides specialist support to the armed forces community who are at risk of homelessness and housing insecurity or are simply trying to understand their rights. It helps people find emergency accommodation, support people into social housing, and help people furnish and settle into new homes with direct grants.