NSW government announced a program to keep veterans off the streets.
NSW government announced a program to keep veterans off the streets.

Homeless army vets to get new housing service

THEY served their country only to find themselves without a roof over their head. Now, for the first time, former servicemen and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness can access­ a dedicated referral service, under a state government initiative.

Link2home, available around the clock to help with accommodation and support referrals, will now have specific services for veterans.

NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward announced the new service for veterans. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett
NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward announced the new service for veterans. Picture: AAP Image/Joel Carrett

NSW Families, Communities and Disability Minister Gareth Ward said Link2home Veterans and Ex-Service would connect individuals and families with specialist homelessness services and provide accommodation.

"This division of Link2home will be dedicated to supporting veterans ­experiencing homelessness and will be operated by specially trained staff, well-versed in finding the assistance that suits their needs," Mr Ward said.

"Our government is committed to tackling homelessness in all its forms and this dedicated service will provide the critical first step towards rebuilding their lives."

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare researchers found more than 1200 army, air force and navy veterans were either homeless or facing homelessness after being discharged between 2011 and 2017. In NSW alone, one in 10 homeless people sleeping rough in NSW is a military veteran who has failed to get help from the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

One in 10 homeless people are veterans. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright
One in 10 homeless people are veterans. Picture: AAP Image/Richard Wainwright

Acting Veterans Affairs Minister Geoff Lee said it was "critical" to secure housing solutions for former defence members. "We want to break down the barriers preventing ex-servicemen and women asking for help," Mr Lee said.

"Many former servicemen and women are used to being self-reliant but we want to ensure they know help is available."

Parliamentary Secretary for Veterans James Griffin said Link2home Veterans and Ex-Service would make it easier for people to access the services they need. "Our government is ready, willing and able to help people into safe and stable housing and to work with them to break the cycle of homelessness," Mr Griffin said. "This program will help prevent former defence personnel­ ending up on the street."

Originally published as Homeless army vets to get new housing service


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