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Former members of the armed forces

This information is to assist former members of the armed forces (veterans) with their housing options or who may be threatened with homelessness and to provide links to relevant web sites with in-depth advice and information. 

Help before leaving the armed forces

If you are leaving the armed forces you have the right to help with finding somewhere to live. You can get help through the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO).They provide civilian information and advice for you and your dependants, especially if you are about to return to civilian life.

The JSHAO also manages the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Referral Scheme which may help some service leavers get accommodation through a housing association. You can apply if you are a family or a separated spouse still in Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or single and living in temporary accommodation within six months of leaving the forces.

The Veterans Welfare Service is run by the MOD and provides support to enable a seamless transition from service to civilian life.

Apply for social housing

The Cheshire West and Chester (West Cheshire Homes) Allocations Policy gives a high priority to those who are serving, or who have served, with the armed forces, in line with the Community Covenant for Cheshire. Where the applicant or a member of their household has been injured as a result of service in the armed forces and where the injury is such that their existing housing is no longer suitable, or where they are unable to be discharged from hospital until appropriate housing is found, they will be awarded the highest Band A.

Applicants who are currently serving in the armed forces who are due to be discharged within three months and in housing need will be awarded Band B, high housing need. Applicants who have served in the armed forces within the past five years who have a housing need will also be awarded Band B. You will have to bid for suitable properties once you are on the housing register.

You can apply for a social housing property via the West Cheshire Homes website.

Get advice if you are threatened with homelessness

When the MOD serves you with a Certificate of Cessation of Entitlement it is approximately 93 days (three months) before you leave the armed forces. It contains the date that you lose your entitlement to service accommodation. Staying in SFA beyond that date will deem you an ‘Irregular Occupant’ and you will be charged a daily market rate. Single personnel will not be able to remain beyond their last day.

If you are threatened with homelessness within 56 days, you can make an application for assistance to the council under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017. The council has a duty to assess your case and agree a personalised plan with you and provide assistance to try and prevent your homelessness. Housing advice and homelessness service at the council are provided by the Housing Options team.

If you are actually homeless the council will help you find alternative accommodation or may offer you temporary accommodation if you have an apparent priority need. If you have dependent children you automatically be in priority need, or if someone in your household is pregnant. You may be in priority need because you are considered vulnerable because of time spent in the forces or for other reasons such as mental health issues or a physical disability. It's important to tell the council about anything that makes it harder for you to cope with being homeless such as disability or being released on medical grounds.

You will also need to prove that you are eligible for assistance (this relates to your immigration status) and not intentionally homeless. To be accepted as homeless in this area you must be able to show that you have a local connection. This could be through work, residence or close family connections.

You will be advised in writing of the decision on your homeless application. Whatever you discuss with the Housing Options team will remain confidential.

Housing Options can also help you with a bond for private rented housing and access other services such as hostels, day centres or supported housing. For further information or to apply for assistance contact the Housing Options team.

Specialist housing associations

The following specialist housing associations provide longer-term housing for veterans.

  • Haig Housing (general needs housing for ex-service single people and families)
  • Stoll (supported housing for vulnerable veterans)

Help with housing costs

Housing Benefit

You might be able to get housing benefit to help pay your rent. For more information claiming housing benefit in Cheshire West visit the Housing Benefit page on this website.

Universal Credit

In some areas you'll have to claim housing costs through Universal Credit instead. For more information on Universal Credit visit the Universal Credit page on this website.

HELP scheme

Cheshire West and Chester Council's HELP scheme can assist people in need with items such as food vouchers or recycled goods.

Help from military charities or voluntary organisations

Veterans' Gateway is a telephone helpline for veterans seeking support. It's made up of a number of military charities and can put you in touch with organisations who can help further. 

If you're at risk of homelessness, you can get help finding accommodation from the following organisations.

Accommodation finder

Our accommodation finder self help pack can be used by anyone trying to find accommodation in the Cheshire West and Chester area. You can increase your chances of finding something suitable by considering the full range of housing options available to you as well as knowing what you can afford. 

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