Nick Smith MP Labour MP for Blaenau Gwent
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith has welcomed The Royal British Legion’s new ‘Housing and Homelessness Best Practice Guide’ and urged local social housing providers to take its advice on board.
The guide offers advice to housing providers, including local authorities, on how to better support the Armed Forces community in their search for suitable housing.
The Royal British Legion have used their own experience and expertise in this area to produce a support guide which focuses on how local authorities and housing providers can improve their services to bring homelessness among the Armed Forces community down to zero.
As housing law is different across the nations, there are three guides: one each for Wales, Scotland and England.
Nick Smith MP said: “Earlier this year I wrote to encourage local business to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, and I know there is a lot of support for this.
“As well helping those who have served to find work, we should also be doing our best to alleviate any difficulties they may have in finding housing.
“The Royal British Legion Best Practice Guide is a vital document which informs local housing authorities and other organisations how best to do this.
“I have written to local social housing providers to ask them to review and incorporate the guide into their operations as soon as possible, so that we can start to repay the debt that we owe to all members of our armed forces.”
Director General of the Royal British Legion, Charles Byrne, said: “The Royal British Legion is pleased to be able to produce this Best Practice Guide, and we are happy to offer advice and help to local authorities or housing providers on this issue should they need it.
“No one who has served in the UK Armed Forces should face any form of homelessness and the Legion will always be here to support those in need of assistance. It is important to remember that we do not provide that support in isolation.
“The Legion works at its best when we work in partnership with local statutory services and other charitable organisations.
“We have therefore produced this Best Practice Guide in order to share expertise, resources, and experience between statutory services and charities like the Legion, which we hope will result in quick and effective action to support those most in need.”