Huppert gets government action for ex-armed forces homeless

July 10, 2010 1:26 PM

Julian HuppertThe plight of homeless ex-service personnel is to be examined by the Government after Cambridge MP Julian Huppert raised the issue in the Commons.

Julian called on the government to take action after discovering that 30 per cent of the city's homeless have a military background.

During Topical Questions, he asked Andrew Robathan, Under Secretary of State for Defence what steps the government was taking to reduce homelessness among former members of the armed services.

"Will he promise to take steps to provide support in regard to mental health and tenancies, and to support those who turn to drugs and alcohol after their time in the armed services?" he asked.

Julian raised his concerns after discovering the number of Cambridge's homeless ex-service personnel during a visit to the city's Victoria Road Hostel.

According to figures compiled by the last government, Cambridge would appear to have a far higher number of former armed forces homeless than the country generally.

Mr Robathan said that a recent review carried out by the Labour government found the national figure to be just three per cent with three quarters of those being over the age of 45.

He promised to examine the issue as part of the military covenant - the mutual obligation between the national and its armed forces.

And he added that former Royal Navy medical officer, MP Andrew Murrison is examining mental health issues "which do indeed take a long time to come to the fore - typically, about 14 years".

Julian said: "This figure is extremely disturbing. We cannot allow this situation to continue. These people have served their country often in dangerous, life-threatening situations which can make it difficult for them to re-settle in society.

"They must be better supported when they leave the forces. It is a sad indictment of the previous government that so many ex-service personnel find themselves out on the streets or living in homeless hostels.

"We have relied on these people to carry out their duties to society now it is our turn to help them. I am pleases that the issue is going to be examined and I will do everything in my power to make sure the government recognises its responsibilities to all members of the armed services."

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