COVID homelessness fund grant welcomed by veterans charity
Veterans Aid, the UK’s frontline charity for ex-servicemen and women in crisis, has been awarded £60,000 from the Covid-19 Homelessness Response Fund.
CEO Dr Hugh Milroy welcomed the news saying: “It’s hard to express how much this sort of funding means to us. We have worked constantly, throughout the pandemic, to keep safe veterans threatened with homelessness – and support those already in our care.
“Remaining operational when many other organisations have closed their doors, or reduced services, has come at a cost. We have provided basic, emergency support to keep veterans off the streets and safe but inevitably, due to increased demand and COVID constraints, we have had to concentrate on bare essentials rather than investment in the additional measures that promote sustainable independence.”
The grants, distributed by Homeless Link, are awarded to organisations affected directly by COVID-19. Of the £5m funding pot, £4.82 million is provided by The National Lottery Community Fund, the largest funder of community activity in the UK, for homelessness charities in England. A further £680,000 comes from Comic Relief, which raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives and will primarily be allocated to charities based in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Dr Milroy said: “The clamour for funds to support struggling charities is getting louder and it is great to see funding arriving. In the social exclusion corner of the veteran sector, the pandemic has clearly illustrated the gulf between systemic delivery and the personal needs of veterans in crisis. Our significant experience of the past nine months has highlighted the need for the discussion about where money should best be targeted and utilised. Finding the funds necessary for real-time delivery of services is now a crucial issue.”
Veterans Aid has a light footprint and operates from just two locations – an HQ/Operations Centre in Westminster and a residential facility in Stepney. Initially, during lockdown, it switched seamlessly to well-rehearsed remote operating protocols, offering timely and practical support to ex-servicemen and women throughout the UK and overseas. Since then it has been operating as normally as possible from its HQ. No staff were made redundant or furloughed and no cases of COVID reported at the charity’s 66-bed residential facility.