Greater Property and Family Support Proposed for Armed Services Personnel with Mental Health Issues.

Armed forces personnel and veterans with post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues are to be given priority for social housing under new government proposals.

The measures would give current and former servicemen and women dealing with mental health issues the same priority treatment as those with physical problems.

Changes could also be introduced to make it easier for partners of armed forces personnel to find social housing if they divorce or separate.

An overhaul of the system would ensure that all applicants for social housing are asked if they have served in the military to make sure veterans also get the help they are entitled to.

Tobias Ellwood MP has opened a debate on the Armed Forces Covenant, which is intended to support service personnel and reservists after they have left the forces.

The Covenant is a pledge from the government to 'treat members of the British Armed Forces and their families with fairness and respect'.

It focuses on helping members of the armed forces community have the same access to government and commercial services and products as any other citizen.

Around 50,000 veterans have mental health issues, often sparked by combat stress. Another 6,000 are homeless and 10,000 are in prison or on probation.

The Ministry of Defence and Ministry for Housing have signed up to a statutory duty for commanding officers to refer vulnerable individuals to councils for housing.’

The proposals are being put out for consultation by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP.

At the moment, people who split from forces partners have to move out of military accommodation and can be denied social housing because they have "not been resident in the area for long enough".

In some cases - particularly those involving domestic abuse - they may be unwilling to remain in the area where their military partner is stationed.

The Government is now consulting on possible new guidance encouraging councils to waive residency rules. An eight-week consultation runs from January to March.

For Forces personnel that are looking to purchase property, there is also support through a dedicated Help to Buy scheme.

These new measures demonstrate how the Armed Forces Covenant supports the military community.

Anderson Rowntree Solicitors is one of just a handful of law firms that have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and are able to give the most appropriate advice to serving personnel or veterans.

Our services cover all aspects of civilian law applied to your individual circumstances.

Our Armed Forces Covenant Bronze Award recognises that we pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community

For more information and for a confidential initial discussion, contact Jane Hodge on 01243 787899 or email jane.hodge@andersonrowntree.co.uk