Housing options if you are leaving the armed forces

If you are leaving, or a former member of the armed forces and you are threatened with homelessness or are homeless, there is help and advice available.

For information on how the Armed Forces are supported, refer to council’s Armed Forces Community Covenant information. 

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Before your service comes to an end

If you are living in services accommodation you will be given six months notice that your tenancy will end when you leave the service.

During this time you should start to look at your options and at what help is available to you through the Career Transitions Partnership (CTP). Their website has a guide for housing.

You can also approach the council’s housing options service, HomeChoice to find out about the options available to you.  These are explained in the Housing Options Wizard.  

Ex-services personnel are exempt from the general qualification rules that relate to local connection when applying to join the housing register and can apply to join the register regardless of whether they have a connection with South Gloucestershire or not.  

If you are not successful in finding accommodation

Homelessness rights for ex-services

If you are threatened with homelessness or homeless, you can apply to the council under homelessness legislation.  The HomeChoice team will work with you to prevent or relieve your homelessness.  Find out more in the Homelessness leaflet ‘applying as homeless’.

If you think you will be homeless after discharge from the services you should contact HomeChoice.  They will not wait until you are made homeless before they help you, and this will include looking at what rights you have to remain in your services accommodation after your discharge date to give you more time to find somewhere else. 

If you apply as homeless, there are general rules that apply to all homeless applicants that HomeChoice must consider as to whether they provide you with accommodation. There are extra rules that apply to people who served in the armed forces. 

General rules

If you are eligible and threatened with homelessness or homeless, HomeChoice will assess your housing needs and work out a Personal Housing Plan with you.  To find out more about a Personal Housing Plan please see our page on Advice about Homelessness.

If you are homeless and have a priority need, you will be provided with emergency accommodation. 

A priority need can be, for example, if you have dependent children or a member of your household is pregnant, and for single people we will look to see if you are vulnerable in some way because of your time spent in service.  

Extra homelessness rules around vulnerability for the Armed Forces if you are single

You should be treated as being vulnerable and therefore in priority need for accommodation, if you can show that your vulnerability is as a result of having served in the armed forces. 

To help support your case, you may need to provide medical evidence from the Ministry of Defence, including a Medical History Release Form.

When deciding if you are vulnerable, they may consider:

  • how long you were in the forces and your role 
  • if you spent any time in a military hospital 
  • if you were released from service on medical grounds (and have a Medical History Release Form)  
  • if you have had accommodation since leaving service
  • if you have been able to obtain or maintain accommodation since you left and how long it has been since you left service 

HomeChoice will link you with existing support networks with the Armed Forces to ensure that the full range of advice and support is provided to you including support from the Royal British Legion and the Armed Forces charity SSAFA.

Further information

Veterans’ Housing Advice is a new service which provides clear pathways for ex-service personnel in housing need throughout the United Kingdom to move into permanent homes. 

The advice is provided in partnership with The Royal British Legion and Shelter. It aims to make accessing the services of charities easier through a telephone helpline open seven days a week from 8am-8pm.

You can call an advisor on 0808 801 0880, or via the Veterans’ Gateway on 0808 802 1212 available 24/7.

Intentionally homeless

If you became homeless intentionally, or you had suitable accommodation since you left service and lost it due to something that you did or failed to do, the council do not have a duty to provide you with accommodation. You will however continue to get advice and assistance and you can still apply to join the housing register.  

Re-housing in the area of your base

If you apply as homeless, the council will consider if you have a local connection to South Gloucestershire, including time living in this district as part of your time spent in service. 

If you do not have a local connection or any other special reason to live in the district, your homelessness application can be referred to a district that you have a local connection with.  

You don’t need to have a local connection to apply to go on South Gloucestershire Council’s housing register. 

More information is available from Shelter on ex-services and homelessness. 

Contact telephone numbers

If you are ex-services and have nowhere to stay, you should contact the council’s housing options team, HomeChoice on 01454 865496 or email: Homelessness@southglos.gov.uk 

South Gloucestershire council Homelessness Service 01454 868005 

Veterans Housing Advice 0808 802 1212 

Royal British Legion 0808 802 8080 

SSAFA Bristol & South Gloucestershire 0748 313 5651