Positive Futures: Getting Transition Right in Scotland Housing: Making a Home in Civilian Society is the latest in my Positive Futures series of reports, which examines different aspects of transition.
Housing is a top concern in Service leavers’ minds with over half leaving without their housing needs having been sorted. Finding and sustaining affordable housing is an aspect of transition back to civilian life that is not always as smooth as it should be and the one where the risk of disadvantage is probably the highest.
While there is evidence of improvement in recent years, there is scope to do more and Government needs to act now to build on that to help those especially vulnerable to a failed transition from entering a cycle of homelessness and the knock-on effects of that.
Good homes support improved life chances, wellbeing and better educational outcomes. Our homes have a major impact on the quality of our lives but housing is a complex landscape for the uninitiated. A shortage of affordable homes means some Service leavers get into difficulties finding a home, especially those whose choice is limited to social rents, who are vulnerable or who fail to plan in good time.
While veterans are not over represented amongst the homeless population in Scotland, that does not mean that ex-Service personnel do not experience housing problems or homelessness and while some initially appear to make a smooth transition, they can encounter problems at a later point and experience ‘delayed homelessness’
The report makes 4 recommendations for Government aimed at getting housing transition right: shoring up preparation and planning and making sure it starts early enough; helping leavers navigate housing information, advice and support that’s relevant to Scotland and where they are planning to live; maximising the availability of appropriate, affordable homes and ensuring current work to prevent homelessness amongst veterans and service leavers is completed and implemented early. The report is aimed at ensuring all Service leavers and their families choosing to settle in Scotland experience fewer difficulties and smoother and better housing outcomes. An overview of the report’s findings, including the recommendations in full, can be found here.