Flintshire councillors seek priority for homeless servicemen

Reporter:

Matt Jones

FLINTSHIRE councillors have called for homeless ex-servicemen and women to be given a helping hand to get a council house.

Moves to make it easier for returning troops to find accommodation have won support across the county.

Jaci Anders, 46, of Connah’s Quay, mum of 26-year-old bomb disposal expert Gary who was injured in a blast which killed his best friend in Afghanistan, said those leaving the services should be treated with more respect.

She said: “I think this is a fantastic idea. These men and women have lived away from home for a long time and when they come out they have nothing, they are like new starters.

“They have served their country and they deserve to be respected for that. It is a job for them, but they put their lives on the line for us. They deserve to be treated as more than just a number.”

Councillors sitting on the community and housing overview and scrutiny committee asked officers to see if there was any way of helping those leaving the services

Cllr Hayden Bateman said: “I’m in full support of it, because they are in Army accommodation and they finish their time and come out and they have nowhere to live.

“They may want to come back to the area. If they have put service into the country they deserve to be offered something. They are classed as homeless when they come out, but they deserve something a bit better than that.”

Allocation of council houses is based on a points system with those in most need getting more points.

Flintshire Council currently treats all those who are homeless, including soldiers and those released from prison, as having the same need for housing.

Cllr Ron Hampson said he supported proposals to give points to ex-servicemen and women.

He said: “The people who come out of the service need every help we can give them. Putting those leaving the Armed Services on the same footing as those leaving prison is wrong.”

Clare Budden, Flintshire’s head of Housing said: “After the meeting members asked officers to consider whether it was appropriate to introduce points for housing applicants who were leaving the Armed Forces and seeking re-housing in Flintshire.”

See full story in the Leader

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