Leanne Raises Urges Action on Veteran Homelessness in Wales

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Rhondda AM Leanne Wood has called upon the Welsh Government to assess the problem of homelessness among former armed service personnel in Wales.

The Plaid Cymru Leader made the calls during questions to the Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary with responsibility for veterans. At present there is no data on the amount of homeless people in Wales with a background in the armed forces.

As well as Leanne asking for the Welsh Government to begin collecting the data on veteran homelessness, she also asked for an undertaking the local authorities are following the Army Covenant when it comes to housing. The Army Covenant states that veterans should face no disadvantage when it comes the allocation of social housing.

During the plenary session, Leanne said: “You'll be aware that some armed forces personnel struggle with adjusting to life outside the forces and some particularly struggle because of the traumatic events that they have witnessed.

“This might explain why a 2014 survey by the British Legion found that working-age veterans are twice as likely to be unemployed as their equivalents in the UK general population.

“More recent studies on the level of homelessness among UK veterans vary, but what we don't know is the proportion of veterans among the homeless population in Wales, because those figures don't exist.

“Cabinet Secretary, are you confident that local authorities are following the army covenant when it comes to veterans not being disadvantaged when it comes to housing? And will you also give an undertaking that your department will look into the issue of homelessness among veterans in Wales to see what the extent of the problem is and to consider what measures you can put in place to address those specific problems?”

In response, Alun Davies said he was “confident” that local authorities were doing all they could to deliver on their commitment to the Army Covenant and that he was in contact with the UK Government about developing further information about homeless among veterans.

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