Homes open in time for Christmas for Veterans in London

TOP MILITARY CHARITY OPENS HOMES FOR CHRISTMAS FOR VETERANS IN LONDON FUNDED BY LIBOR FINES

A groundbreaking housing development for Veterans has been unveiled in the capital funded by money raised from the popular Libor fines scheme.

The one bedroom homes are designed primarily as transitional housing for service leavers. The eight unique homes in south west London will help them to settle into civilian life or after a period of instability or unemployment and was opened by Lieutenant General Richard Nugee the Chief of Defence People.

Former chancellor George Osborne channeled a number of City fines to military-related good causes and changed the way these levies were used after a number of City scandals.

The public praised the move which has so far amassed hundreds of millions which will allow the Army Covenant Fund to hand out an estimated £10m every year for the next twenty five years.

The development at Parry Court, Morden, was commissioned by the UK’s top Veterans housing charity, the Haig Housing Trust, at a cost of £1.4m which was part of the £14.6m received from the Veterans Accommodation Fund.

Haig Housing was one of the organisers of the hugely successful Poppies at The Tower installation which raised millions for Veterans charities and is the country’s leading charity for military housing.

General Nugee handed over the keys to the first completed property today to Private Jordan Collings of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) who was delighted to receive these in time for Christmas. Private Collings who is in the process of leaving the Army after 5 years service said, ‘

Rents at these properties will be set deliberately at less than 60% of the normal open market rent in the area, thus offering affordability and stability for the beneficiary in establishing both a new career and future.

The properties will be leased on a six-monthly basis, extending up to two years and the scheme is intended to act as a stepping stone for Veterans who have either secured employment in the London area or who are expected to but who would otherwise not be able to afford to live there.

As such the Haig Housing initiative will offer a period of stability during which time the beneficiary is expected to settle down and then be able to move on to other accommodation, perhaps even on one of Haig Housing’s main estates.

The site in Morden is also known as the Cafe Site because it’s on the grounds of a disused cafe and warden’s house and will consist of eight one -bedroom houses. Situated in
Zone 4, they have good transport links with both the Northern line and Thameslink close by.

The Trust’s Chief Executive Brigadier James Richardson said:The need for Veterans’ housing is increasing and we are looking at ways to build or acquire more properties to help. Ideally, we would seek to do this nationally but we are constrained by the availability of sites. Using land we already own in Morden is the most sensible option for new homes and we now have plans to build a variety of additional homes on the estate for members of the ex-Service community including those who have been seriously injured.

“The development will provide a safe environment and will benefit from the excellent community links, transport and schools”.

“This will be a much needed development and initiative. We have seen a 30% increase in applications in just the last three years whilst our stock has grown by only 3.4% in the same period. In London and the South East demand is currently very high with at least eleven eligible people for every one house which might become available.”

Haig Housing Trust has secured funding for the construction of these eight units plus a further 68 new homes on the Morden Estate from the Ministry of Defence’s Veterans Accommodation Fund, established in support of the Government’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

Haig Housing (Haig), is a charitable housing Trust and the leading provider of rental housing for ex-Service people in the United Kingdom. Haig has had a significant presence in Morden since 1930 and now has 270 homes on the estate which borders Central Road and Green Lane in the Morden Conservation Area

Across the UK, Haig has over 1,500 properties - mostly built in the 1930’s, 50’s and 90’s. Homes are situated on small, well managed estates of usually around 30 properties but, range in size from about 6 houses up to the largest estate in Morden of over 270 homes. Properties are a mix of family-sized houses, maisonettes and smaller flats, which are spread throughout the UK in over 50 different local authorities. Properties are available to qualifying beneficiaries at a charitable rent, roughly comparable to that charged by the local authority.

Haig also offers special housing solutions for severely wounded and disabled Service and ex-Service personnel. Homes are found and acquired in areas conducive to the needs and personal preferences of the individual, adapted to meet these needs and a shared ownership scheme then drawn up. This has the advantage in ensuring that the individual’s compensation package is not wholly and immediately spent on housing, while allowing a greater ownership share to be taken as circumstances change in the future. Of the 54 homes obtained in this way since the scheme was first established by Haig under the ‘Coming Home’ fundraising brand some 7 years ago, 18 have now been fully bought out. In this way we have been able to – and continue to - provide appropriate housing for those personnel and other Veterans in need of rebuilding their lives following traumatic life changing injuries.

Brigadier James Richardson added: “The need for Veteran’s housing is increasing. Our aim is to ‘touch lives’ and whether we house the applicant or assist them into housing with another provider we are assisting a Veteran into housing, which is our charitable object.”

“We are always looking at innovative and alternative ways to increase the stock we can allocate to. One such project involves refurbishing long-term empty properties in Manchester, which was recently featured on “BBC DIYSOS: Homes for Veterans.

We now have 18 homes there with Veteran tenants as well as an office run by one of our Veterans charity partners, “Walking with the Wounded”. This has seen investment from the Trust, Manchester City Council and hundreds of tradespersons and businesses with the aim to create a sustainable ex-Service community in Greater Manchester and will
operate similar to our other estates.”