Positive Futures – Making a Home in Civilian Society – Recommendation 3

Service leavers can face multiple challenges when transitioning, and finding a home is a challenge that is exacerbated by a lack of suitable affordable housing. They should be assisted in finding and sustaining a home in the civilian world.
Scottish Government Committed Actions
Scottish Government Progress Update
SVC 2022
Assessment
1SG will liaise with SFHA (Scottish Federation of Housing Associations) GWSF (Glasgow West of Scotland Forum) and ALACHO (Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers) to promote to their members ex-Service personnel as a priority group under ‘Reasonable Preference Allocations Priority’ policy.No update
2Work has been carried out by the Veterans Scotland Housing Group (VSHG) identifying what each LA allocations policy contains about veterans. This is likely to be referred to in the Veterans homelessness prevention pathway.The veterans homelessness prevention pathway included a recommendation for the Scottish Government to encourage all social landlords to include ex-Service personnel as a priority group in their allocations policies under the ‘Reasonable Preference Allocations Priority’ policy introduced in the Housing Scotland Act 2014. This will be taken forward in due course.
3SG will work to improve the provision of guidance for frontline local authority and other Registered Social Landlord staff on the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) and each council’s policy on housing support for veterans. This could include wider circulation of the Armed Forces Awareness training distributed to LAs in 2020.Following the Local Authority elections in 2022, we will re-engage with the new network of Armed Forces and Veterans Champions to determine the effectiveness of the Armed Forces awareness training and whether there is scope for any further work or support. We are also discussing with Veterans Scotland whether there is any scope or need to extend the Informing Scotland project beyond Local Authorities, such as to RSLs and how SG can support this work. Organisations including DWP and SDS have already had some informal briefings and Veterans Scotland are looking to identify a wider audience.
4Along with raising awareness of the pathway to prevent homelessness for veterans, SG and The Veterans Scotland Housing Group will work to improve AFC awareness via the local authorities Housing Options Hubs. As part of this, the group will seek to include information on the AFC and the specific challenges that veterans face.Scottish Government officials and the chair of the Veterans Scotland Housing Group have engaged with housing options hubs to discuss and raise awareness of the homelessness pathway, which also included discussions of the Armed Forces Covenant. Further discussions on the Covenant will take place during Scottish Government updates to hubs.
5SG will encourage SFHA and GWSF to raise awareness of veterans issues around housing associations.No update
6SG will support social landlords in the preparation of their Housing Need and Demand Assessments (HNDA) in order to confirm that the needs of the Armed Forces Community are considered, including the number, location, type, size and tenure of housing required.As the statutory housing and planning authority for their area, local authorities are responsible for assessing housing need and demand and setting out how the requirement for housing will be met through their Local Housing Strategies and Strategic Housing Investment Plans, including the size, type and tenure of housing required to address need in their communities. Scottish Government guidance for local authorities on preparing a Housing Need and Demand Assessment requires them to give due consideration to Specialist Provision requirements including accessible and adapted housing and wheelchair housing amongst others. When evidencing this they should consider a range of households such as older people disabled people, people with a mental health condition, and armed forces communities. Each HNDA is assessed by the Scottish Government's Centre for Housing Market analysis (CHMA) who will work with local authorities to ensure that their HNDA’s can be signed off as being “robust and credible”.
7SG will encourage local authorities to fully consider the housing requirement of the Armed Forces Community when preparing a Local Housing Strategy and to ensure that appropriate engagement takes place with relevant organisations to inform the development of each strategy.As outlined in the recently refreshed Veterans Strategy Action Plan we will work with Scotland’s Housing Network to encourage Local Authorities to identify the housing needs of the Armed Forces Community and to reflect this in their Local Housing Strategies and Strategic Housing Investment Plans. For example, Argyll and Bute Council’s Local Housing Strategy 2022-2027 has highlighted engagement with veterans’ organisations and representatives of Armed Forces personnel from HM Clyde military base to ascertain their housing needs and priorities and this work has directly informed the Local Housing Strategy. Additionally, Veterans Housing Scotland is now represented as a core member of the Argyll & Bute Strategic Housing Forum to ensure the needs of this group continue to be identified and addressed.
8Any proposed Scottish Veterans Housing Alliance could effectively feed into both the HNDA and Local Housing Strategy process to help inform future need for veterans in Scotland. SG will discuss with the VSHG the proposed purpose and associated benefits of an alliance and will consider further if a request/proposal to fund a feasibility study is submitted.No proposal for a Scottish Veterans Housing Alliance has yet been forthcoming.

Read the Positive Futures: Making a Home in Civilian Society report here.