Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Counting soldiers on the street

September 26 2009
The statistics generally bandied about are outdated, but an upcoming report will throw light on numbers One of the oft-used figures when people talk about ex-servicemen on the streets is that 25 per cent of the homeless fall into this category. But just because it is quoted so often and widely doesn't make the figure correct, and the reason for the error is the age of the research rather than its methodology. The figure of 25 per cent seems to come from research done by Anderson, Kemp, and Quilgars in 1993, which was based on a huge survey in 1990 to 1991 carried out around London. At the time the survey was done, there was a large population of older ex-servicemen, largely because of National Service. This population is growing smaller now that declining numbers of people are serving in the armed forces. So what's the figure now? A more recent figure comes from St Mungo's (The Big Survey 50:50), which found that three per cent of readers are ex-services; but for those over 50 years old, this rises to nine per cent (in line with circumstances for the older generation). But The Pavement can confirm that the Ex-Service Action Group on Homelessness (ESAG) has commissioned a new research project to update a previous report carried out in 1997, which also suggested the figure of 25 per cent. Conducted by the Centre for Housing Policy at York University, the interim report is subject to change and therefore under embargo. Along with the decline in those serving, it is anticipated that improved resettlement packages on leaving the service and support for ex-service readers will show a reduction in the numbers of ex-service rough sleepers. The committee hopes to produce a summary in the next few weeks and will then officially launch the report.