Westminster joins forces with Veterans Aid

Posted On: 
28th December 2016

Partnership is 'first' to tackle rough sleeping.

Westminster City Council are the first London borough to partner with Veterans Aid to tackle rough sleeping. The partnership aims to make sure that no ex-serviceman or woman ever has to resort to bedding down on the street. Outreach workers will now refer any ex-service personnel directly to Veterans Aid, who will get them into emergency accommodation and make sure that they never have to spend a night on the streets.

Cllr Nickie Aiken, Westminster City Council cabinet member for public protection, said: “Nobody should have to sleep rough which is why we spend £6.5m on rough sleeper services in Westminster, far more than any other local authority.

“It is especially difficult to see those who have served our country ending up on the streets. That is why I am so pleased to announce that we will be the first London borough to work in direct partnership with Veterans Aid. They have a superb record of helping ex-servicemen and women and I hope that this will continue to make a real difference in Westminster.

“If you encounter a rough sleeper that you are concerned about you can call Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 or download the app.”

Dr Hugh Milroy, CEO of Veterans Aid, said, “I wholeheartedly embrace this partnership which will work on a number of levels. This charity’s operational HQ and Drop-In Centre has been in the heart of the Borough for over 60 years and we have been a former Lord Mayor of Westminster’s chosen charity. We share with the Westminster team a commitment to preventing and addressing street homelessness and the consequences of homelessness – not by giving short-term handouts, but by creating enduring solutions.

“We have an excellent record in dealing with homelessness among veterans to the extent that is now a rare thing to find a genuine veteran on the streets. Our emphasis for some years has been on “no first night out”.

“By working in close partnership with Westminster we hope to take our prevention work onto a new level through direct referrals from Westminster. We have a system of “swift-intervention” that works and recidivism among our clients is uncommon. We are deliberately offering our unique and effective service to help Westminster with its rough sleeping issue. We aren’t asking for money here, we just want to play our part.”

Last year ‘VA’ provided 22,000 nights of accommodation for ex-servicemen and women in crisis.