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Updates for residents and businesses

Former Armed Forces

This information is specifically for former members of the regular armed forces. The regular armed forces are the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the regular army and the Royal Air Force.

Devon Home Choice

Devon Home Choice is a choice based lettings scheme through which Council and Housing Association homes in Devon are allocated. For detailed information visit Devon Home Choice website

Former members of the regular armed forces receive special consideration in that:

  • The local connection provision is not applied to ex-forces personnel, where the application is made within 5 years of discharge
  • Ex-forces personnel who would otherwise be placed in Band D are provided with additional preference and placed in Band C
  • Any lump sum received as a compensation for an injury or disability sustained on active service will be disregarded when determining whether the household has sufficient resources to meet their housing need

For full information on Devon Home Choice policy and procedures, please refer to the Devon Home Choice website.

Homeless or threatened within homelessness

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness you can ask any local housing authority for help. This is known as making a homeless application. For full information on making a homeless application please visit Homeless or threatened with homelessness?

The following information is specifically relevant to former members of the regular armed forces who make a homeless application.

Local connection is a consideration if you are homeless and ask a local housing authority for help, as if you approach a local housing authority to which you do not have a local connection they may refer you to another local authority in an area to which you do have a local connection. Members of the armed forces (and bereaved spouses or ex-partners) are able to establish a local connection through residence or employment. You may therefore be able to show that you have a local connection to the area where your base is situated.

The Council will carry out enquiries to establish if you are homeless or threatened with homelessness. If you are approaching your date of discharge, the Council will wish to confirm the date on which your entitlement to occupy service accommodation ends, and therefore you will be asked to show the Certificate of Cessation of Entitlement to Occupy Service Accommodation, which you should have been issued 6 months prior to discharge.

If you are homeless or become homeless the Council will only be under a duty to secure you accommodation if there is reason to believe that you are in priority needIn considering whether you are vulnerable as a result of having been a member of the regular armed forces, the Council will have regard of the following factors:

  • the length of time you spent in the armed forces;
  • the type of service the you were engaged in, and how this affects your ability to cope with civilian life;
  • whether you spent any time in a military hospital;
  • whether HM Forces' medical and welfare advisers have judged you to be particularly vulnerable in their view and have issued a Medical History Release Form giving a summary of the circumstances causing that vulnerability;
  • the length of time since you left the armed forces, and whether you have been able to obtain and/or maintain accommodation during that time; and
  • whether you have any existing support networks, particularly by way of family or friends.

If the Council is under a duty to secure you accommodation, you may be offered accommodation in a homeless hostel, a self contained or shared house, or bed and breakfast. If you are accommodated and then, after carrying out enquiries, the Council decides that you are not in priority need your accommodation may come to an end with reasonable notice whilst work continues to help you to find a home.

If you are homeless and in priority need, and the Relief Duty owed to you comes to an end unsuccessfully, the Council will need to decide what further duties are owed to you. You cannot be considered to be intentionally homeless for exercising your contractual right to give notice to leave the forces.

If you are homeless or threatened with homelessness after losing your accommodation due to being dishonourably discharged from the armed forces, you will still receive help from the Council to find housing under a Prevention Duty or a Relief Duty. If you are in priority need the Council will secure accommodation for you whilst a Relief Duty is owed. However, if you remain homeless when the Relief Duty comes to an end and the Council decides that you are intentionally homeless, further assistance will be limited and short term.

Ex-forces and single, homeless and street homeless

Depending on your circumstances, the Council may have a duty to help you to find housing (a Relief Duty), but not a duty to secure you accommodation and this means that you will not be offered emergency accommodation.

The Council works with different agencies to provide services and support to people who find who themselves homeless and rough sleeping, and these services include:

  • Providing an outreach service to rough sleepers. The Council works with a charity called Encompass to go out looking for rough sleepers; to support and engage with them and help in finding housing solutions
  • The outreach workers work closely with social care and the drug and alcohol service and anyone rough sleeping can be referred into these services and receive an enhanced outreach service
  • Making referrals to supported accommodation through Community Hub
  • Working with local food banks to issue vouchers to those we are working with, and who are in crisis
  • Providing emergency accommodation to rough sleepers in Torridge during periods of severe cold weather
  • Help and practical support, including hot food and clothing can be accessed from Harbour, Bideford at 7 Queen Street, Bideford EX39 2JG. Further information about Harbour, which is a charity, can be found on their website.
  • A range of services including counselling, advocacy, and help with housing and benefits can be accessed from Intagr8, which is a Wellbeing Centre located at the Old School Rooms, Bideford, EX39 2BU. The Centre is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Further information about Intagr8 can be found on their website.
  • A homeless drop in service (including hot food) at St Marys Church, Bideford

Agencies providing support to former members of the regular armed forces

The Royal British Legion might be able to help with a rent deposit, they also provide a wide range of services tailored to ex-service personnel and their families.
SSAFA provide housing advice to people currently serving in the forces and ex services personnel and their families.  Veterans' Housing Advice is a service which provides clear pathways for ex-Service personnel in housing need throughout the United Kingdom to move into permanent homes.

It is provided in partnership with The Royal British Legion, Shelter and Connect Assist. Its main aim is to make accessing the services of charities easier through a telephone helpline open seven days a week from 8am-8pm.

It can, for example, provide financial support to pay for a deposit, rent in advance and essential items for a new home. Services provided include:

  • supported accommodation - providing temporary accommodation for veterans, with support
  • long term housing - providing settled accommodation for veterans, with or without support
  • general needs - unsupported housing for members of the ex-Service community unable to buy or rent on the open market. Tenants will usually be self-sufficient, but may need to avail themselves of some of the floating support listed. Some adapted properties may be available or adaptations arranged as necessary
  • floating support - Services delivered by visiting workers to people in their own homes to help people maintain their settled accommodation
  • outreach services - Covering work with rough sleepers or people in temporary accommodation to help them access more settled accommodation and any support needs
  • day centres - The provision of activities and support to homeless and vulnerably housed people. (drop-in facilities)
  • debt and money advice for the most vulnerable ex forces people
  • in some instances, financial and advocacy support if you are at risk of homelessness such as Combat Stress
  • support to access other services such as Combat Stress

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