Honouring Our Heroes: Homelessness and Veterans on Remembrance Sunday

British Flags on Remembrance Sunday - Veterans and Homelessness
5% of people sleeping rough in London are UK veterans. It's disheartening but we can reverse this together.

On Remembrance Sunday, many of us gather to pay tribute to the brave service people who have served our country.

We remember their sacrifices, their courage, and their dedication to protecting our freedoms.

However, many of our veterans face another battle on their return to to everyday life – homelessness. St Martin-in-the-Fields has a long history of supporting homeless veterans, opening its crypt to soldiers returning from the front during the First World War.

In the UK, the amount of Veterans sleeping rough has decreased, but it still remains an issue.

The reality of homelessness among UK veterans

We have seen many people sleeping rough after their time in the military. There are several factors that contribute to this struggle in civilian life:

  • Trauma: Many veterans suffer from PTSD, a condition that can result from the traumas of combat.
  • Left untreated, PTSD can lead to difficulties in maintaining stable employment and relationships, which can ultimately contribute to homelessness.

    Research shows that 85% of people sleeping rough have struggled with trauma, making in the most common cause of rough sleeping.

  • Transition Challenges: Transitioning from military to civilian life can be an overwhelming experience.
  • This can lead to many facing difficulties finding suitable employment, housing, and adjusting to the civilian world.

  • Lack of Support: Some veterans lack the support they need to navigate their return to civilian life, leaving them vulnerable to homelessness.
  • The impact

    Homelessness takes a serious toll on physical and mental well-being. It can lead to a vicious cycle of poverty, social isolation, and poor mental health which can be difficult to escape. Many veterans struggling with homelessness report feelings of despair, hopelessness, and inadequacy, which are far from the dignified lives all people deserve.

    What’s the solution?

    At our trauma-informed homeless charity in London, we believe in actively tackling homelessness among veterans. Here are some steps that can make a difference:

  • Outreach: Our outreach teams go out daily to find people sleeping rough in London.
  • As some people may feel a sense of shame which stopes them seeking support, or may not know where to turn, this can be a vital first step in someone’s journey home.

  • Mental health support: Recognising the impact of trauma on veterans is key to providing accessible and effective homelessness support.
  • At The Connection, we offer therapy tailored to each person’s unique needs as a part their journey home.

  • Employment assistance: We offer job training and support which can help veterans transition smoothly into civilian life away from the streets.
  • photo of Jamie, who we supported, and a link to his story
    We were there for Jamie when he needed us most

  • Safe housing solutions: Affordable and stable housing options are vital for everyone, including veterans.
  • Awareness: Promoting awareness about the issue of veteran homelessness can lead to a more compassionate society that works together to overcome homelessness.
  • Remembering our veterans

    This Remembrance Sunday, let’s not just thank our veterans but also take meaningful action to support them. Addressing homelessness among UK veterans is an essential way to honour their incredible contribution to our society.

    Let’s remember that, for those who served our country (and everyone who lives here), a safe and stable life should be the standard, not the exception.

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