Cheshire Homelessness Nov 2014

Supporting our Homeless Veterans

CRASH is currently supporting the Listening Out Loud Foundation, a charity based in the North West that supports ex-service personnel to help them make the transition from homelessness to civilian life.

The need

Even though 2014 marks the Centenary of the outbreak of WWI, a proportion of our veterans continue to find themselves without a home. Although exact numbers are difficult to count, research shows that around 10%* of the country’s rough sleepers have been in the armed forces at some time.

Whilst homeless veterans share many of the characteristics, profile and experiences of the wider homeless population, the notable difference lies in the numbers suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Listening Out Loud founder Jill Dolman, says, “For most military personnel, the army provides a protective environment, however, once they are discharged, they can find it difficult to adjust back into civilian life, this is when many can find themselves homeless.”

Though this is a UK wide issue, it is particularly prominent in the North West of England where the highest proportion of frontline troops are recruited. According to figures provided to Listening Out Loud by the Ministry of Defence, there are around 500,000 veterans living in the area with the numbers expected to rise over the coming years.

The same source stated that 14% of those discharged from armed service need support of some kind and 1% will become homeless which corresponds with the growing pressure on Listening Out Loud to provide support to more veterans.

The charity works with around 20 veterans at a time and has a number of properties in the Congleton area of Cheshire. Due to the increasing demand for their services, they approached CRASH for help.

The solution

The project, which is being led by CRASH Patron EC Harris LLP, will involve the major design and refurbishment of two houses that will provide nine bedrooms, a counselling room, a nurse’s room and a community kitchen/dining room and a lounge to create first stage accommodation for homeless veterans.

Both CRASH and Listening Out Loud are keen to involve the veterans in the building work, an idea that would help not just with the current lack of skilled labour in the industry but also save money for the Foundation.

“We have a whole range of building skills among our veterans with the kind of experience the construction industry needs,” explains Jill.

The project is currently in the early stages with plans being finalised and specifications drawn up. CRASH will be looking to get as many of their Patron companies involved as possible with this important and inspiring project that will create a legacy for veterans.

 

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