Jigsaw Joins Consortium to Help Reduce Veteran Homelessness

Jigsaw Joins Consortium to Help Reduce Veteran Homelessness

Armed Forces Community HQ (AFCHQ), Jigsaw Homes Group and Wigan Council have been awarded a significant investment as part of an £8.5 million programme to end veteran homelessness within this Parliament.

With funding from the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA), the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust has awarded over £900,000 to the consortium under the Reducing Veterans’ Homelessness programme for ‘Homes At Ease North West’ to deliver a regional support model across Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside and Lancashire over a two-year period.

Taking learnings from all UK national Housing First pilots, Homes at Ease, is delivering an innovative, person-centred, trauma-informed approach to reducing veteran homelessness across the North West.

The service offers housing related support to people for as long as is needed, in their local community on an outreach visiting support basis. Homes at Ease is all about finding real solutions to the very real problems and barriers that people face in accessing safe and secure accommodation. The service also enables free and direct access to in-house counselling services, together with welfare and financial assistance to people, as they need it.

Jigsaw Homes Group will be providing up to five homes for vulnerable veterans as part of the programme.

AFCHQ has seen first-hand the impact of homelessness and how not having a safe place to call home can delay resettlement. Laura Ingham, Managing Director at AFCHQ, said: “Those who have served in our Armed Forces deserve a key to their own front door, a stable platform to rebuild lives after service, and to access the right support for better life chances.” AFCHQ launched in 2018 and the service offer has grown to support in the region of 2,500 people on an annual basis.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “The Homes at Ease programme will play an important and leading role in preventing homelessness across Greater Manchester and the North West. This is a great example of how Greater Manchester local authorities and partners are stepping up to provide outstanding support for our Armed Forces community and making our city-region the best place for veterans to live in the UK.”

As part of the government’s pledge in the Veterans Strategy Action Plan 2022-24 to end veteran homelessness, a new dedicated hotline for veteran rough sleepers launched in July; Op FORTITUDE. This is a centralised referral pathway into supported housing, working with providers across the United Kingdom , including Homes at Ease.

Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and GMCA lead for Healthy Lives and Homelessness Paul Dennett, said: “By becoming a part of the Op FORTITUDE pathway, the Homes at Ease team will deliver gold standard support to veterans at risk of or suffering from homelessness. Our Armed Forces community is often forgotten and this grant allows us to provide a strong focus on the niche issues that create veteran homelessness in Greater Manchester and the wider North West.’’