Ahead of Remembrance Sunday, Housing Minister Grant Shapps has today set out his plans to ensure that each of our country’s service men and women get the housing help they need.
He argued that all too often, the nature of military work can become a “blockade” to members of the armed forces meeting their aspirations for a secure and stable home. The Minister made a key pledge to our men and women in uniform to pull out all the stops to give them the support they need - whether buying their first home or applying for social housing.
The package of housing help for heroes includes:
- Help for first time buyers: Service men and women looking to own their first home will be at the very front of the queue for Government-funded home ownership schemes, including the new FirstBuy scheme - which will prioritise military personnel and their families for up to a year after active service ends.
- Tailored support: To make sure they know exactly what’s on offer, housing experts are visiting military bases across the country to explain to our nation’s best how they can apply for one of the thousands of new homes that will be built in the next few years.
- Moving up the waiting list: Ministers believe that years of loyal service to this country should not become an obstacle to finding a home, yet moving from base-to-base can often leave our troops without strong local connections - something many councils look for when allocating social homes. That’s why Mr Shapps has pledged to give councils a duty to put heroes who want a home in their area at the top of the local waiting list.
Finding a home is not the only challenge our heroes can face when returning from active duty.
- Support for the wounded: Government has increased funding for home adaptations, so that those brave heroes who return from active service with serious injuries can live independently with the dignity and respect that their selfless sacrifice deserves.
- Access to credit: Government is also working hard to bring relief to those hard-working men and women in uniform whose years serving abroad or living on military bases have left them with no permanent address - which can often make applying for credit or a mortgage almost impossible. Ministers are working closely with credit companies and the Royal Mail to ensure the unique circumstances of military life will no longer be an obstacle.
- Homelessness support: And for ex-service personnel who find the transition back to civilian life difficult, Ministers across Government are working with Homelessness and veteran experts to find out how we can prevent our brave veterans from facing a life on the streets.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
Our brave men and women in uniform aren’t looking for sympathy and handouts, but all too often their selfless sacrifice for this country can become a major blockade on the road to a home of their own.
That’s why house-hunting heroes on the look-out for their first home will be at the very front of the queue for new Government-funded schemes like Firstbuy. And we’re working hard to make sure that our troops know exactly what options are open to them.
Equally, years of loyal military service should not be rewarded with years of languishing on local waiting lists. Just as our brave troops answered their call of duty, councils will need to do the same, to ensure that heroes who want a home in their area will be at the top of local waiting lists.
All these actions mean we’re marching double-time toward making sure that those who serve our country get the homes and support they deserve.
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