We know, from calls to our contact centre, that finding affordable housing to rent is a hot topic for former armed forces personnel. Veterans' Gateway is the first point of contact in helping you get ahead in your search, with useful contacts and tools, and we've detailed them below to get you started.
Be realistic about your finances:
MoneyForce, a joint initiative between The Royal British Legion, Standard Life Charitable Trust, and the MOD, assists serving and ex-Service personnel and their families and dependants manage money effectively with online help. This includes setting goals and paying off credit cards. Start by taking the MoneyFit Challenge to assess your financial fitness and get a personalised action plan. There's also a budget planner, enabling you to calculate your outgoings. And in case you change your mind about renting, the HomeFinder tool helps you compare the cost of buying and renting, and to see if you may be able to afford a mortgage.
Start your search early:
If you're already planning to leave the Armed Forces contact the MOD's Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) as they can provide information and advice around the different types of civilian accommodation available. Also plan ahead by booking a place on a JSHAO civilian housing briefing services (in the UK and overseas) to find out more about your options.
If you are single get in touch with the Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the Ex Services (SPACES) who will help you to find suitable accommodation, regardless of where you are based in the UK. You can contact SPACES for assistance from up to 12 months prior to discharge.
This is available through councils and housing associations, and is often cheaper to rent than private accommodation. As part of the Armed Forces Covenant agreement, veterans may be given priority support for social housing and be placed higher on waiting lists. Also visit Shelter's website for more information about priority for waiting lists (remember to choose your location, as information may vary).
Eligibility for social housing will vary between councils and housing associations, but if you have an urgent need, you may be prioritised. This can include people who are homeless, living in unsafe accommodation, or living in overcrowded conditions.
The Veterans' Gateway team supports veterans in finding, securing or maintaining accommodation. Information can be accessed by telephone, email, live chat, social media, and on the website by visiting Veterans' Gateway/Self Help/Housing.
For more information, contact:
Private renting: How much does it cost?
Remember to take into account additional expenses such as council tax, gas and electricity bills as these can considerably contribute to the total cost of renting. Upfront costs like deposits and letting agent fees can also be significant. This is another opportunity to use the MoneyForce website to help you decide how much you can afford especially if you need to share the cost of renting.
Resettlement support:The Career Transition Partnership, aims to help in the resettlement of veterans through housing and employment. If you are an early Service leaver, the Future Horizons Programme may also be able to help. Get in touch on 0121 236 0058 for assistance.
Get extra financial support: See some of our specific partners who will be able to offer additional advice and support.
The RAF Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) has a strong tradition of looking after the RAF Family in the UK and overseas. They are there for all serving and former members of the RAF as well as their partners and dependent children. This may include grants and financial help with housing costs and accommodation.
The Royal British Legion offer financial advice and support to Service and ex-Service people. They may offer a grant to help with accommodation costs. To find out more, visit the Legion website.
SSAFA - the Armed Forces charity, supports veterans through financial assistance for a variety of needs. They may be able to help with the costs of moving back into civilian accommodation. To see what assistance they can provide, contact SSAFA on 0800 731 4880 or visit the website.