by Charlie Pears-Wallace, HOS Associate
Housing Options Scotland is a charity working with disabled people, older people and veterans to find the Right Home in the Right Place. We have worked with members of the Armed Forces since 2012 and we have a dedicated service called ‘Military Matters’ to address the needs of this client group. Last financial year, HOS had 266 new veteran clients (a 127.4% increase on the previous year) and the service has never been more needed; because of this, we are currently recruiting for six volunteers to help.

A key priority for service leavers is to find accommodation, however the combination of unfamiliar housing policies, applications and the potential for delays can make the process stressful. We want to make the housing transition as positive as we can and having support from a veteran volunteer who can relate to the client is invaluable. There are practical tasks that the volunteers can help with- briefing and attending meetings for example, or relaying information from the housing brokers- but regular communication with the clients and encouragement is equally important.

We recognise that housing is only part of the process of reintegration from the Armed Forces and so we like our volunteers to continue in a supportive role for the client beyond the housing journey. Volunteers can help to settle clients into their new area by researching local opportunities for veterans or sign-posting other useful services, however often simply keeping in touch is all that is needed to make a difference.

Another way to get involved with HOS is to help us to reach the right people. There are many more service leavers who struggle with finding housing, so it is vital that more of them are aware of the help that is available. Outreach work and community engagement is also very valuable to the charity and talking to others and spreading the word about HOS in the veteran community is brilliant.

Because service men and women often form strong bonds with each other, it is therefore essential that volunteers applying for these roles have a military background. If you are interested in getting involved, or just having a chat about Military Matters, please get in touch with our Military Matters Volunteer Development Worker and REME veteran, Gina who is leading the ‘Veteran Volunteers’ program:  Detailed role descriptions are available.