Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

current issue

April – May 2024 : Compassion READ ONLINE


Estimates of ex-service homelessness exaggerated, claims charity

November 01 2010
Excellent niche services lead people to fabricate a military connection

The number of ex-military people sleeping rough is a lot smaller than government estimates, according to specialist charity Veterans Aid.

The London-based service, which has been running for nearly 80 years, receives around 2,000 calls for help and provides over 20,000 nights of accommodation to ex-service men and women every year.

But it disputes government statistics that put the number of rough sleepers with a military connection at four per cent of the total number.

"Many [who claim to have been in the military], on further investigation, prove to be lying," said Hugh Milroy, chief executive of Veterans Aid. "This is not surprising, given that there are around 3,000 ex-service support bodies operating in the UK, offering help that is not available to those who are not veterans. This number seems to be growing, with new programmes and niche 'help' organisations appearing daily."

Veterans Aid media officer Glyn Strong added: "Very few 'soldiers' are on the streets; they are actually under represented in the homeless and prison communities. If you are in crisis, it is a positive advantage to be a veteran as there are around 3,000 bespoke help agencies."