Advice about finding housing when you leave the armed forces, including help with housing association or council housing, renting, buying and homelessness.
Joint Service Housing Advice Office
The role of the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) is to provide specialist housing information and advice to encourage service personnel (and their dependants) to consider their civilian housing options and to assist them in their transition to civilian life. Where possible it works to place service persons (and their dependants) into suitable accommodation and to assist ex-service personnel still occupying service accommodation.
The JSHAO is set up to provide service personnel and their families with information and advice on the increasingly complex range of civilian housing options. The JSHAO provides a focal point for housing information and advice to all service personnel and their families in particular those about to return to civilian life, and to ex-service personnel who are still in service families accommodation.
JSHAO have now updated the ‘Housing options booklet’.
The JSHAO group Mailbox has now changed to: AWS-JSHAO-Mailbox.co.uk.
The Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the Ex Services (SPACES) is now based in The Beacon.
Telephone: 01748 833797 Military Extension: 94731 2940
Housing: the options
Briefings on the options for housing are designed primarily for service personnel and their dependants who are leaving the service and intend to settle in the UK. Other service personnel who are also considering their civilian housing options are also strongly encouraged to attend. Attendance at these briefings does not count against resettlement entitlement. Applications to attend the briefing should be made on MOD Form 363 and sent directly to the Regional Resettlement Centres, details of which may be found on the Career Transition Partnership website.
For Cyprus briefings, applications should be made to Army Education Centres in Episkopi, Akrotiri and Dhekelia.
For Germany briefings, applications should be made to the Regional Resettlement Centre Herford 0049 5221 880 466 or 94882 3388.
The JSHAO runs Housing Solution briefings for service Personnel throughout the UK and worldwide. These briefings aim to inform service personnel of the greater choice that there is in the way civilian housing options whilst still serving. Email the JSHAO team to book a Housing Solutions briefing for your Unit:
Joint Service Housing Advice Office
Telephone Numbers: Civilian: 01980 618 925, Military: 94344 8925
Affordable housing schemes
There are a number of affordable home ownership schemes that are available to the service and ex-service community. This includes schemes such as Help to Buy in England and LIFT in Scotland. Following the announcement in May 2011 and the government’s pledge to the Armed Forces in the form of the military covenant, service personnel have now been given priority status to assist them in gaining access to affordable housing schemes in England, Scotland and Wales.
Housing Matters magazine
Housing Matters is produced by the JSHAO team and aims to give housing information to the service community world wide on a monthly basis. Each month the magazine focuses on a particular region within the UK and various housing topics. Copies are available from your Unit, Hives, Regional Resettlement Centres and online. Additional copies may be obtained through the JSHAO.
For further information please write to:
Joint Service Housing Advice Office
Telephone: 01980 618 925
The Services Cotswold Centre
Lying in beautiful countryside mid way between Bath and Chippeham, just off the M4 outside Corsham, the centre provides temporary housing for families of serving personnel from all 3 services.Whether you are in transit between postings, retiring, have welfare housing issues or have been the subject of emergency evacuation from overseas, the centre offers a secure, comfortable and affordable place to stay.
In the case of estranged families and those leaving the services, the family is to include 1 child.
The 60 cosy single storey, centrally-heated, 3 bedroom chalets and converted flatlets are all self catering, fully furnished and include cooking utensils, freezer, fridge, cutlery, crockery, bedding and towels.
Colour televisions can be hired for £1.50 per week.
Your accommodation will be ready for you to take over on arrival. If you arrive outside working hours your keys will be left with the security guard at the gate.
The daily charge is only £7 per family; rest and recuperation (R&R) families pay £10. The rent includes heating, lighting and the laundering of bed linen.
What is at the centre?
The secure 25 acre site has its own well appointed amenity centre with internet connection, Tavern Bar, games hall (including large screen TV), launderette and children’s playground.
The centre’s community organiser arranges regular outings to the shops and other local attractions.
For those staying longer, at the centre, there is an excellent early years centre for children from 3 to 4 years, and a county run primary school for 5 to 11 year olds.
12 to 16 year olds can attend Corsham Secondary school which is close by.
For families who are leaving the services the centre has a limited government furnished assets (GFA) and furniture storage facility.
The centre prides itself on providing a caring environment with professional experienced staff to help with and advise on housing, benefits and legal problems.
For security and other reasons certain rules regarding visitors do apply but in general terms friends and relatives are very welcome to visit but 24 hours notice to the main reception is required.
Certain other restrictions do apply but these will be explained to you on arrival.
- no pets are allowed on site.
Accommodation booking form
Services Cotswold Centre
Telephone: Civ 01225 810358
Military: (9)4382 4521
Fax: Civ 01225 816918
Military: (9)4382 4529
Local authority (council) housing
How to apply
The system councils use to assess applications for housing is often referred to as the ‘Allocations Scheme’ or ‘Housing Register’. If you are serving in the armed forces or left 5 years ago or less you can apply to join any council’s housing register even if you do not live in that area, although you may get higher priority if you live in the area. Otherwise, whether you can apply will depend on the council’s own rules.
You need to apply to the council and get on the housing register as soon as possible, even if you have a number of years left to serve as time spent on the register may help you. You are also able to apply for housing while serving at a BFPO address. However, you are not eligible to apply for council housing if you are not a resident within the UK.
If you are a foreign and commonwealth service person you maybe ineligible to apply for council housing until you have started the process to apply for your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or UK Citizenship.
On receipt of your application, your council will acknowledge it and your needs will be assessed in accordance with the council’s points or banding scheme. All councils must give high priority to former service personnel who are in urgent need for housing.
How long will I have to wait?
Different areas vary in popularity and in the availability of the type of housing you may be looking for. The council will evaluate your needs from your application form and you will be advised of the number of points your application has been given. You will then be told how long you can expect to wait before you are re-housed by the council if at all.
Once your application reaches the top of the list, you will be offered the next appropriate dwelling in your area of choice. You will have a set number of days to decide whether you want to accept the offer. If you refuse the offer, you may be offered further accommodation later, but policies vary from council to council so check before you refuse. Most councils have a limited number of properties and demand currently exceeds supply. Therefore, only those in the greatest need are likely to be assisted.
If you are a foreign and commonwealth service person you maybe ineligible to apply for social housing until you have started the process to apply for your Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or UK Citizenship.
Affordable housing schemes
The following affordable housing schemes are available to the service/ex service community. Service personnel have now been given Priority Status to assist them in gaining access to Affordable Housing Schemes across all English regions and the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales.
The Homebuy Scheme and Mortgage Rescue
HomeBuy enables social tenants, Ministry of Defence Personnel and other first time buyers to buy a share of a home and get a first step on the housing ladder in England.
There are a number of HomeBuy products, provided by the Homes and Community Agency, based on shared ownership and equity loan products offering people a choice in the type of home they can buy.
This section gives details for each of the products, provides answers to the most common questions about the scheme and lists contact details for the HomeBuy agents who provide a contact point for affordable housing options in different areas of England. It also covers schemes that are available in the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For personnel living or working, or aspiring to live or work in London visit First Steps website.
The Mortgage Rescue scheme has been designed to allow vulnerable home-owners, at risk of repossession, to remain in their homes.
- more about affordable housing schemes
- see the Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme, a pilot scheme to help ex-forces personnel buy homes
MOD Referral Scheme, formally known as the MOD Nominations Scheme
The MOD has established a referral scheme with Housing Associations to provide low-cost, rented accommodation for people coming out of the services. The Scheme, which was originally based on the sale of surplus family quarters, operates in about 180 locations in England, Scotland and Wales. The Scheme is open to single and married service leavers in their last six months of service and to separated spouses who are under notice from Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) in service Families accommodation. Local connections to the area for which you are applying are not required.
Housing associations offer similar types of housing as local councils, often to people on a low income or who need extra support.
You can apply directly to a housing association or often through your local council. You can apply to more than one housing association at a time.
Help to Buy, and other home ownership schemes
You may be able to get financial help through a government home ownership scheme if you live in England and can’t afford to buy a home.
- service/ex-service community have priority status to assist them in gaining access to these schemes in England, Scotland and Wales, so for example, if there is 1 home and 2 applicants, one of whom is an armed services applicant, the armed services applicant would get preference see the Armed Forces Home Ownership Scheme, a pilot scheme to help ex-forces personnel buy homes
- from 1 Apr 2014, the MOD is launching a new Forces Help to Buy scheme. Serving full-time personnel can apply for a loan of up to 50% of their salary (up to £25,000) to help with a home purchase. The loan is repayable over 10 years, unless you leave the service before that point. The amount available and how it can be used will depend on your personal circumstances. You should contact the Veterans UK on 0808 1914 2 18 and should also talk to your mortgage provider.
MOD Referral Scheme
In the early 1990s, the MOD established a scheme to re-house service Leavers through nomination rights originally acquired when surplus MOD properties were sold to Housing Associations. However, because these rights have now ended, the scheme is wholly dependent on the goodwill of Housing Associations, whose properties are not specifically intended for, nor do they belong to, the JSHAO. The scheme is reliant on Housing Associations requesting referrals for vacant properties but applicants may also be referred to Housing Association waiting lists through this scheme.
Unlike local authority policies, the Scheme is beneficial because it does not demand that you have a local connection with the area for which you are applying. You may apply for a (reasonable) number of areas by listing the locations or counties where you would like to live. A member of the team will then get in contact to discuss the options available in those areas. You are not restricted by where you now live, where your family live, or where you will work, so the Scheme is particularly beneficial for those struggling with the local connection policy.
Single service leavers and couples without children may also find it difficult to access housing provided by the Council. On the MOD Referral Scheme, singles and couples are just as likely to be housed as families because applicants are chosen by their suitability for the type of property offered by the Housing Association.
The JSHAO and the MOD Referral Scheme have no housing stock, no internal connections with Local Authorities and unfortunately there is no guarantee that applicants will be housed through the Scheme. We cannot estimate how many offers we might receive, when we will receive them or where the properties will be located. This means that while nothing may be available suitable to your needs or in your area of choice, it is equally possible that, eg, a number of 1 bed flats may become available which would only be suitable for singles or couples.
Furthermore, Housing Associations do not require deposits and, although rents are slightly higher than Council rents, they are considerably lower than private rentals. Furthermore, most Associations grant Assured Tenancies, allowing tenants to remain in the property as long as they wish, provided they adhere to the terms of their tenancy agreement.
Nevertheless, all applicants are strongly advised to contact their Local Authority and consider alternative housing options, in addition to applying for the Scheme, in order to maximise the chances of being housed. The Scheme attempts to provide another route into Social Housing, not replace such actions as directly contacting Local Authorities.
Service Leavers with families and separated spouses with children may also wish to contact the Services Cotswold Centre, which offers temporary accommodation. Information, advice and hostel accommodation is also available from the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help. Single service leavers should contact SPACES (Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the Ex-Services), who may also be able to help.
Additionally, for those who would benefit from adapted and sheltered (both supported and unsupported) accommodation, this type of housing is accessible through the Scheme. Please contact the Scheme Coordinator for more information.
We will also, where applicable, direct you to Choice Based Lettings Schemes operating in your specified areas. So, even if a Housing Association is not participating in the MOD Referral Scheme, they may form part of a Common Housing Register for an area or county. This also means that applicants requesting areas not covered by those Housing Associations that offer referrals or hold their own waiting lists, may be successful through Choice Based Lettings Schemes. If applicable, further information will be provided with your letter of acknowledgment.
To be eligible for the MOD Referral Scheme, applicants must be Armed Forces personnel within six months of their discharge date and currently occupying service accommodation. Applications for the Scheme can be accepted from service leavers, married or single, and from separated spouses living in married quarters or hostel accommodation provided by SSAFA Forces Help and the Services Cotswold Centre. It is important to note that while personnel in Single Living Accommodation (SLA) are eligible until 6 months post-exit date, those in Service Families Accommodation (SFA) are eligible until they leave that service property.
Please do not apply if you are ex-service or single and beyond the six months after your exit date. If you own or part-own a property or are privately renting, you will not be considered for housing through the Scheme. Similarly, if you have sufficient capital to buy a property you are unlikely to be housed. Pensions and expected gratuities will also be taken into account when processing your application.
The application and referral process
If you are eligible, you will need to complete an application form. You will need to print this form and send it to our office as your signature is required.
You need to include evidence of the date on which you are required to leave your service accommodation:
- SFA occupants, a copy of my ‘Notice to Vacate’ or ‘Certificate of Cessation of Entitlement to Occupy’ (provided by DIO within 6 months of discharge)
- SLA occupants, a copy of my MOD Form 1166 (available from Unit Admin Office)
- overseas applicants, a copy of my ‘Certificate of Cessation of Entitlement to Occupy’ (available from the Station Staff Officer)
- applicants following marital separation, a copy of my ‘Notice to Vacate’ or ‘Certificate of Cessation of Right to Occupy’ (provided by DIO at the start of the 93 day notice period)
Your application will be acknowledged in writing and you will be added to our database for consideration when properties are offered to us.
We assess each property offer by its appropriate allocation to a certain family size and we consider applicants who have that location as an area of choice. Applicants are then placed by priority, starting with Medical discharges, followed by normal service leavers, Non-extenders and Premature Voluntary Release (PVRs), then irregular occupants and separated spouses. We then contact the most eligible and highly prioritised applicant and forward their details to the Housing Association.
Please be aware that applicants are restricted to one offer through the scheme.
All completed application forms should be returned to:
Joint Service Housing Advice Office
- Tel: 01980 618 219 Mil: 94344 8219
- Fax: 01980 618 068 Mil: 94344 8068
- Email the MOD Referral Scheme Co-ordinator LF-JSHAO-Referrals@mod.uk
The HomeBuy Scheme & Mortgage Rescue (England)
HomeBuy is a government-driven initiative that helps eligible individuals and families find homes that meet their current needs. The Government has appointed a number of HomeBuy Agents throughout England to help those who are seeking to live in specific areas.
For many people, this program will provide the best chance of owning a home in the area in which they want to live and work. The initiative also offers rental options for those who are eligible. For vulnerable homeowners who are at risk of repossession the Mortgage Rescue scheme has been developed to help you remain in your home.
- More details about HomeBuy in England
- See the Welsh Homebuyscheme
- The Scottish Low Cost Initiative For First Time Buyers (LIFT) scheme
What is a Homebuy Agent?
A government-appointed HomeBuy Agent provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ service for home ownership and rental opportunities that exist in these areas around England. By registering with an Agent, individuals are assessed to identify the schemes they are eligible for. HomeBuy Agents work with a number of organisations such as other housing associations, private developers, estate agents and local authorities to ensure customers are kept informed about all the opportunities available to them.
Agents also organise regular HomeBuy shows. At these events, independent financial advisers and solicitors provide affordability assessments and advice free of charge. The HomeBuy show is a great opportunity to find out more information and have queries answered face to face. Entry to these shows is free so visit the respective HomeBuy Agent websites for the latest dates.
There are a number of different scheme types that are offered under the HomeBuy initiative. Depending on your individual circumstances you may find that one or more of these are available to you.
For personnel living or working, or aspiring to live or work in London please visit the FIRST STEPS website.
A shared-equity scheme designed to help first time buyers have 100% ownership of their property. The purchaser will be the legal owner with full title to the home and can sell it on the open market without restriction. The buyer buys a new home, on a designated HomeBuy Direct development, with assistance from the Government and the house builder in the form of two equal equity loans.
The equity Loans would be up to 30% of the purchase price leaving the applicant to raise 70% by way of a mortgage plus a deposit, if available. The equity loans are interest free for the first five years. After that, there is a fee of 1.75%, rising annually by the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 1%.
FirstBuy is an equity loan product which gives you the opportunity to buy a new home with the help of up to 20% of the full purchase price. Applicants will be required to fund at least 80% of the purchase price through a conventional mortgage. The FirstBuy equity loan will be interest free for the first 5 years with a charge payable from year 6.
This scheme offers brand new high quality homes available on a ‘part-buy/part-rent’ basis (also known as NewBuild Homebuy). Under this initiative, eligible individuals are able to become home owners by buying a share of a newly built property (from as low as 25%) and pay a subsidised rent on the portion they don’t own. Individuals then have the opportunity to increase their share of the property as their financial situation allows by ‘staircasing’.
HomeBuy Agents can provide you with details of the developments in your area that offer ‘part-buy/part-rent’ opportunities. From time to time ‘part-buy/part-rent’ properties will become available as a result of existing owners moving further up the property ladder. These are known as ‘Resale’ properties.
This option offers new build properties at 80% (or less) of current market rents and is available through a number of Housing Associations. In most cases the initial period is for 6 months and time frames are reviewed regularly. Under some circumstances, at a later date, there is option to buy a share of the property through another HomeBuy scheme.
Rent to HomeBuy
Under this scheme, commonly referred to as “Try Before You Buy”, eligible individuals are able to rent a newly built home provided by a Housing Association at a rate that is normally 80% of the current market rate. Depending on the development the individual has the option to convert the rental agreement into shared ownership (part-buy/part-rent) after a period of 3 years of 5 years. The rental period is designed to provide an opportunity to save for a deposit to put towards buying a share in their home.
This scheme allows some social housing or local authority tenants to buy their current home at a discount either outright or on a part-buy/part-rent basis. To do so, their landlord must have decided to take part in the scheme. This is likely to be of interest to tenants who do not qualify for the Right to Buy or Right to Acquire or who are not currently in a position to buy their home outright. Interested parties should contact their landlords to see if they are participating in this scheme.
Eligibility rules have been amended by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for existing homeowners. As a result all current home owners who wish to be considered for HomeBuy options are now required to have a ‘Priority Housing Need’ approved by their current Local Authority before they register with the local HomeBuy Agent for the area they wish to live in.
The priority housing need will be assessed in accordance with the Housing Act 1996. In addition, to be eligible for HomeBuy schemes, candidates must fit into one of the following criteria and must not have a household income in excess of £60,000 per annum. Once you have met the initial eligibility criteria, the government has prioritised the following groups for assistance:
- first time buyer groups who cannot otherwise afford to buy a home on the open market
- MOD Personnel as defined by the HCA including Regular Armed Forces Personnel
- tenants of councils and housing associations and those who are on the Local Authority Housing Register - MOD Personnel and Social tenants who wish to buy a property through HomeBuy are given top priority
- those who have had a major change in circumstances
- current or previous home owners who are looking for a new property as a result of a major change in their personal circumstances, divorce/separation, victim of domestic violence, overcrowding due to a growing family, etc, subject to approval
So if you meet these requirements what should you do now?
Register with the HomeBuy Agent covering the area you are interested in (details can be found by visiting the HomeBuy website.
Mortgage Rescue Scheme
The Mortgage Rescue Scheme has been designed to allow vulnerable homeowners, at risk of repossession, to remain in their homes. The scheme can help if you can’t make mortgage repayments and are in danger of becoming homeless.
If you are having difficulty in paying your mortgage you should first speak to your mortgage lender. Your local council will also be able to give you advice and assistance to help you stay in your home.
The Mortgage Rescue Scheme closes to new applicants at the end of March 2014. How to apply for the Mortgage Rescue Scheme
Foreign and commonwealth citizens
If you are a foreign and commonwealth soldier you maybe thinking about applying for your ILR or UK citizenship.
To assist HM Forces personnel in making the transition to civilian life, settlement applications may be lodged up to 10 weeks before discharge date, although settlement cannot be granted until after exemption from control has ceased upon discharge.
Where a decision in principle is made to grant settlement, an indicative letter should be sent to the applicant to assist you in making appropriate arrangements for employment after discharge and for liaising with relevant authorities for housing, healthcare and benefits.
Please contact our Senior Housing Advisor if you are experiencing any difficulties:
*Email AWS-JSHAO-SeniorAdvisor@mod.uk *Telephone: 01980 618 004
What to do if you are homeless
Homelessness means not having a home. Even if you have a roof over your head you can still be homeless. This is because you may not have any rights to stay where you live or it may not be reasonable for you to continue to live in it.
Where to go for help
Go to your local council and tell them that you wish to apply for housing assistance under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996.
Local councils have legal duties to assist homeless people in some way, either through temporary re-housing or by giving advice and guidance.
Find out how to get help if you are homeless
Are you in a priority need category?
The main homelessness duties in the Housing Act 1996 apply only to applicants who are eligible, in priority need, and are homeless through no fault of their own. By law the following categories of applicant have a priority need for accommodation:
- pregnant women
- 16/17 year olds, 18/21 year olds who have been looked after by Social Services in the past
- a person who lives with dependant children under 16, or 16-18 in full time education
- a person who is vulnerable because of old age, mental illness, physical disability, violence, threats of violence
- a person who is homeless, or threatened with homelessness because of flood or fire
- a peson who is vulnerable as a result of having served a custodial sentence
- a person who is vulnerable as a result of having been a member of Her Majesty’s regular naval, military or air forces (England only)
- a person formerly serving in the Regular Armed Forces who has been homeless since leaving the Forces (Wales only)
If the council recognise that you are eligible, in priority need and unintentionally homeless, they will help you find settled accommodation. Temporary accommodation may have to be utilised before the council are able to offer more settled accommodation.
Are you in non-priority need?
Single people, or couples under state retirement age without children and who are not considered vulnerable, do not normally fit the criteria of those in ‘priority need’ in England. This is the same in Wales except for those who have not been able to secure stable accommodation since leaving the services and have a local Welsh connection.
If the council recognise you as non-priority need it will not have a legal obligation to house you, however you will be offered appropriate advice and assistance on your housing options.
How can the council decide that I am intentionally homeless?
It is up to the council to prove that you are intentionally homeless, not for you to prove that you aren’t. The council has to make enquiries into the reasons you became homeless and must be satisfied that all the following points apply:
- you deliberately did (or didn’t do) something that caused you to leave accommodation which you could otherwise have stayed in
- it would have been reasonable for you to stay there
If the council recognises you as intentionally homeless it will only offer you appropriate advice and assistance.
- emergency housing if you’re homeless
Single service leavers
SPACES is designed to help single service leavers to find appropriate accommodation when they leave. Through this service the project reduces the likelihood of ex-services personnel becoming homeless or sleeping rough after discharge.
Veterans Aid exists to help you if you are homeless or are likely to become homeless. Contact us now if you need help, regardless of how long you served or whether you were in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army, RAF or Merchant service.
Haig Homes Project Tassle - Transitional Accommodation for Single ex-service People (TASSLE).
For single service leavers, the transition to civilian life can be difficult, and the cost of accommodation outside the Forces often comes as a shock. Many cannot afford the cost of private rental, rent bond etc, while they look for employment. Without accommodation the chances of successfully obtaining employment are reduced, and many end up sleeping on friends’ sofas or floors.
Haig Housing Trust Project TASSLE will give successful applicants an address and firm base for up to a year whilst they seek employment and establish themselves in civilian life.
Home Base is a service for people who are facing homelessness as they leave the armed forces. It aims to help clients integrate successfully into civilian life.
The scheme is managed by Community Housing and Therapy (CHT) in partnership with Central and Cecil Housing Trust (CCHT), who provides flats in Paddington. Home Base implemented the findings of a research project funded by the National Lottery Charities Board and carried out by The Homeless Fund.
The report, published in 1996, suggested that there was a high level of demand in central London for a resettlement programme for young single people leaving the services. Most Home Base clients have come to CHT from Army Units and The Army Benevolent Fund, together with the Royal British Legion have provided generous financial support for the scheme.
The Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI)
The Royal British Legion Industries have short stay accommodation, not normally exceeding 3 years, for single service leavers at The Mountbatten Pavilion in Aylesford, Kent. The accommodation is on 2 floors and comprises single bedrooms with shared bathroom facilities on each floor. Weekly charges include the provision of 3 daily meals in the communal dining room and laundry facilities. Some accommodation is suitable for disabled personnel.
To apply for accommodation contact Rodger Leeder at RBLI:
Telephone: 01622 795954 * Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scottish Veterans Residences
Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR) is Scotland’s oldest ex-service charity, founded in 1910 to support independent living for ex-service men and women and their spouses of all ages. The charity operates in close association with Scottish Veterans’ Housing Association Ltd which owns and manages the two main residences of Whitefoord House located on Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile and Rosendael situated in Broughty Ferry, Dundee.
SVR provides the stability to help our veterans cope with the changes that are happening in their lives and for them to live with dignity, privacy and understanding to cope with these changes.
The Foyer Federation
Foyers are locally based schemes, which provide affordable accommodation for young singles, usually 16 to 25 year olds, who would otherwise be homeless. Tenants are given assistance with training, seeking employment and finding more permanent accommodation. The average length of stay is 12-18 months. Prospective residents will be required to demonstrate that they are in housing need and are fully committed to taking part in a programme of training and preparation for employment if not currently employed.
There are approximately 100 Foyers throughout the UK, helping over 5000 young people each year.
The Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation
The Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation is a charity with a mission to ensure vulnerable and disabled ex-servicemen and women live as independently as possible. Since 2000, when it was discovered that up to one in four homeless people had a service background, we have focused our work on identifying and tackling the problems now facing homeless ex-service personnel.
Moving or buying abroad
Thinking of settling outside the UK when you leave the service? Have you liked the look of a place while serving there or on holiday? Have days spent in sunshine put you off British weather? Can you see career potential outside the UK? Whatever the reason, there are some basic points you need to consider before making the change.
Migrating to a new country is a life-changing decision. It’s important to research your potential new home very carefully; if possible, speak to other people who have already emigrated to the country for their own experiences. If you don’t already know someone who has emigrated, there are now numerous websites and forums for expats.
Remember that UK citizens can work and live anywhere within the EU without a need for a special visa. The EU currently includes 27 countries across the continent.
Your chosen country’s embassy in the UK should be your first source for detailed information on their particular immigration procedures and requirements for successful emigration; many countries operate point systems based on qualifications, work experience, finances and other personal factors.
It’s important to begin your emigration application as soon as possible, as with many countries it can take up to 2 years plus to get the appropriate paperwork completed. For popular destinations such as the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand its worth using specialist companies’. These can provide information and through their own self-assessment tests, a realistic view of your chances of success.
Questions and answers
The JSHAO Team has put together a number of questions covering many aspects of service and civilian housing advice.
Question 01: Do I get discount on buying property due to the fact that I am a service person/ex service person?
A: There are various Shared Ownership and Equity Loan schemes designed to help service personnel in purchasing a home such as Help to Buy(England) and LIFT (Scotland). In England (outside of Greater London) your first step is to contact the relevant Help to Buy agent in the area in which you want to live.
Question 02: How do I apply to for Service Families Accommodation?
A: You will need to contact DIO on 0800 169 6322. You then need to select the relevant HASC (Housing Allocation Service Centre) where you need your Service Family Accommodation (SFA). You need to complete a MOD Form 1132. You can get this from your unit or DIO directly. Complete this and send to the HAS with a copy of your posting/draft order. Refer to JSP 464 for further information.
Question 03: I am interested in renting out my property to the MOD. How do I do this?
A: You need to speak to the HCR group on 01256 8127000 or visit www.hcr.co.uk. They will send you an overview of the scheme and an application form.
Question 04: I am going through a marital separation. My husband is in the services and I have received an eviction notice (93 days). What advice you can give to me?
A: You have 93 days to remain in the married quarter at the entitled rate (the current rent) after this time you become an irregular occupant and must pay damage for trespass which will be about twice the amount you currently pay (as a guide). Contact DIO on 0800 169 6322 or visit the DIO page.
Question 05: Does the JSHAO offer assistance to ex-service personnel?
A: The JSHAO provides specialist housing advice and information to serving Armed Forces personnel and those still occupying SFA as Irregular Occupants. You can contact Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help:
Telephone: 020 7463 9398
Email: [email@example.com](mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are a veteran.
Question 06: My partner and I are not married. Can we still have a married quarter?
A: No, married quarters are for married service personnel only and those in civil partnerships. Consult JSP 464 for more information.
Question 07: I’m leaving the Armed Forces, I’m on termination leave and I’m filling out a form for private rented accommodation. Who should I put down as my reference?
A: As a rule DIO do not provide references, however some will as point of good practice to help you secure civilian accommodation. You will need to obtain a form from the letting agent which you need to sign to say that DIO can release information about you. Contact the HASC on 0800 169 6322 and ask them if they can do this for you. When you have sent them the form they can confirm your name address and length of time you have been in the Married Quarter (MQ). You may also wish to show the letting agent your pay slips which will confirm that you pay rent each month directly from your salary.
Question 08: I’ve reported a fault with my current SFA (eg, there’s a leak) and still nothing has been done to my quarter to rectify this fault. Can you offer me some advice on what to do next?
A: You need to contact DIO repair line on 0800 707 6000.
Question 09: I’ve served in the Armed Forces for 22 years and am applying for council housing. Do I get any privileges in regards to housing as I was in the Army?
A: Your housing need will be assessed based upon your family’s vulnerability. You will not be a priority just because you have served within the Armed Forces. There are however, specific housing associations that deal with ex-service personnel.
Scottish Veteran’s Garden City Association aim to provide low cost accommodation for ex-service and Merchant Navy personnel.
- Telephone: 0131 557 1188.
Westfield Memorial Village is a charity that owns 78 houses and 10 flats on the outskirts of Lancaster. The properties have been leased to Northern Counties Housing Association who gives priority to ex-regulars and their families who apply for accommodation in the Village. Ideally applicants should have a connection with Lancaster or the North West.
- Telephone: 01524 598 700.
Question 10: I have applied to the MOD Referral Scheme, when will you house me?
A: The JSHAO do not have any housing. Housing associations contact us and offer properties as a good will gesture. If a property becomes available and you meet the criteria you will be notified.
Question 11: I have submitted my long service advance of pay (LSAP) eligibility form and I was wondering whether I have been accepted and moreover what I should do now?
A: You need to ring Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC) directly on 0141 224 3600 as they deal with the LSAP.
The ex-service community
What help is there once you have left the services? Where can you go to get housing advice and information?
On 2 April 2007, the Ministry of Defence created a new brand for services to veterans - Veterans-UK.
There are many organisations that provide help and support to UK veterans, both from government and the voluntary sector. This can at times be confusing for those seeking help as they are unsure about which organisation provides which services and from whom to seek help.
Veterans-UK will be the single brand or banner covering a variety of different veterans services provided by a range of different organisations. It will form a single point for accessing information.
The first steps involve a new veterans’ portal website replacing the previous Veterans Agency website. This will provide a single website and e-mail address, email@example.com, from which information can be obtained. Services provided by the Veterans Services Directorate of Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) will also come under the Veterans-UK name for promotional and publicity purposes.
For the future, it is hoped the new brand will include other MOD services to veterans and later those from other government departments and possibly voluntary sector organisations. Again, the website will provide the focal point for accessing information on these services.
- More information from the Veterans-UK website.
Haig Homes is the leading UK provider of rental housing for ex-service people. Haig Homes has over 1,300 properties - a mix of family-sized houses, maisonettes and flats, spread throughout the United Kingdom in 47 different local authorities. Some properties are suitable for the frail, elderly and people with disabilities.
[Haig Homes website](http://www.haighomes.org.uk/)
Telephone: 0208 6685 777
The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF)
The RAF Benevolent Fund is here to provide support to all members of the RAF family in need. The fund can provide housing help for ex-service and serving personnel, who for example have been medically discharged with a severe disability, widowed with dependent children who are unable to obtain housing through other means and also serving personnel where the spouse is severely disabled. Visit the RAFBF website or call 0800 169 2942 for more information.
The Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to millions of ex-service personnel. Currently, nearly 10.5 million people are eligible for their support and they do receive thousands of calls for help every year.
The Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation
The Sir Oswald Stoll Foundation is a charity which ensures vulnerable and disabled ex-servicemen and women live as independently as possible. One in four homeless people have a service background, and the foundation have focused their work on identifying and tackling the problems now facing homeless ex-service personnel. They provide good quality housing, allowing sustained independent living with a good quality of life. Find out more about the Foundation on the website or call 020 7385 2110.
SSAFA Forces Help’s Housing Advisory Service
SSAFA offer advice ranging from disabled ex-service people and their spouses capable of independent living, separated or estranged families looking for temporary supported accommodation, rough sleepers and many more. The Housing Advisory Service encompasses Housing Law and Housing related issues, and offers free, confidential and impartial guidance. For more information visit the SSAFA website or you can reach their housing advisor by calling 020 7463 9398.
Financial Service Authority
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body, given statutory powers by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The FSA is accountable to Treasury Ministers, and through them to Parliament. It is operationally independent of Government and is funded entirely by the firms it regulates.
The FSA is an open and transparent organisation and provides full information for firms, consumers and others about its objectives, plans, policies and rules. An area of the FSA website provides information specifically for consumers on financial products, regulation and their rights.
Services Insurance & Investment Advisory Panel
SIIAP (the Services Insurance & Investment Advisory Panel) is an advisory panel of regulated insurance and independent investment advisers. They all specialise in offering services to members of HM Forces and regulated by the appropriate authority in the United Kingdom, therefore offering full compensation rights to clients whether serving overseas or in the UK.
A Code of Practice setting out the standards of service required from all members of the Panel is available to clients. This, together with a list of current Member Firms, is available to all service personnel at Unit Pay offices, Regimental Admin offices and at Personnel Management Squadrons - via Defence Council Instructions.
The Panel consists of companies who have specialist knowledge and experience in the provision of Insurance and Investment advice to individual members of the Armed Forces. These range from small ‘one-man’ bands through to national institutions with dedicated military departments.
The organisation provides a useful link between these brokers, intermediaries and IFAs and the MOD. Therefore any problems or issues that arise, due to the unique lifestyle of service personnel, can be identified and resolved. A 7 strong Management Committee handles the day to day running of the panel.
Get more information on the SIIAP website.