Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Helping to house our injured heroes

Helping to house our injured heroes

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (081) issued by COI News Distribution Service on 9 April 2009

Ex-servicemen and women who are seriously injured are to be given priority for specially adapted social homes, announced Housing Minister Iain Wright today.

Councils are being instructed to treat seriously injured service personnel as a priority when allocating modified housing, under new guidance being issued today.

It will help to ensure better availability of specially adapted housing with features like walk-in bathrooms, wider door frames, lowered light switches, and entry slopes rather than steps, for service personnel as part of the Government's commitment to support those injured in the service of their country.

The guidance will also reinforce changes to help make sure all members of the Armed Forces can also apply for social housing in areas in which they were based during their service. Previously, service personnel were restricted by the need to demonstrate a local connection beyond having served there.

Iain Wright said:

"It is right that our servicemen and women who are seriously injured fighting for their country are given the housing support they deserve. These new rules mean service personnel must be treated as priority for specially adapted homes. We are determined to ensure our armed forces are recognised for their heroic efforts and helped in their transition to civilian life and getting a home."

Defence Minister Kevan Jones said:

"We are determined to ensure that our seriously injured service personnel are rewarded for their sacrifice with the best possible package of support. It is only right that they are given top priority for specially adapted homes to ensure that they and their families can live in the best possible accommodation."

Director General of The Royal British Legion Chris Simpkins said:

"Housing was a key issue for the Legion's 'Honour the Covenant' campaign, so we welcome this decision which will be of real benefit to those who have given so much for their country.

"We welcome the steady progress being made to restore balance to the Military Covenant, which this announcement signifies and which is so important for our Armed Forces."

Today's announcement forms part of the Ministry of Defence's Service Personnel Command Paper, a package of cross-Government measures designed to end disadvantage experienced by our Armed Forces, their families and veterans as a result of Service. These measures - launched by the Defence Secretary last July - include doubling compensation for injured personnel, establishing community mental health schemes across the UK to provide specialist care for veterans and improving access to education for Service leavers.

Notes to editors

1. The circular is statutory guidance and be found at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/armedforcesallocations

2. Councils must have regard to it when exercising their allocation functions. The circular:
(a) gives effect to a commitment in the Ministry of Defence's Command Paper - "The Nation's Commitment: Cross-Government Support to our Armed Forces, their Families and Veterans" (July 2008) to issue guidance about the priority to be given to seriously injured service personnel, and
(b) takes account of amendments to section 199 of the Housing Act 1996 made by section 315 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 which change the application of the local connection test in respect of members of the armed forces.

3. Under changes announced to the local connection in the Housing and Regeneration Act local authorities must make sure ex service personnel applying for housing in the area near where they were stationed are not penalised through not having a 'local connection' to the area.

4. For more details on the MoD's Service Personnel Command Paper, go to http://www.mod.uk/spcp

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