Partnership aims to stop homelessness in its tracks
May 8, 2020
A unique joint venture aimed at preventing homelessness and getting immediate help to potentially rough sleeping veterans has been launched by Transport for London and the charity Veterans Aid.
Through a series of internal posters, transport staff are advised to ‘Approach, Engage and Advise’ individuals who are rough sleeping or appear prepared to bed down near transport hubs. If veterans, and in need of help, they will be offered contact details for Veterans Aid.
The awareness and help campaign will be introduced at just a few stations initially with options to review and extend further in due course.
It was brokered by the Chair of TfL’s Reservist & Ex-Forces Staff Network Group, Mr John Nicholas who said:
‘From the earliest stages of Armed Forces training men and women are taught to look out for the person next to them. Around 15,000 people leave the Armed Forces each year and build successful lives. Sometimes, however, life doesn’t go to plan and people, including veterans, need support in tough times.’
‘Members of the TfL Reservists & Ex-Forces Staff Network Group feel a duty to support fellow veterans in times of adversity and are pleased that we can advise our colleagues across London of the support provided by Veterans Aid.’
CEO Veterans Aid, Dr Hugh Milroy, said:
‘We are delighted to be working with TfL staff in this way. Although VA operates worldwide its HQ and Drop-in Centre is in Victoria, an area that is a magnet for potentially homeless individuals arriving in London. We know that the key to preventing homelessness is speedy intervention, and that means making contact with veterans in crisis before they become rough sleepers.‘
‘Through this scheme, TfL staff working with us will become force multipliers. Their timely alerts will enable us to save hardship, distress and all the other problems that go hand-in-hand with homelessness.’
‘The TfL mantra ‘Every Journey Matters’ has particular resonance for us at VA because often the hardest journey for an ex-serviceman or woman in crisis to make, is the one to our door. With encouragement, and an assurance that help is available freely and without judgement, we hope more potentially homeless veterans will come forward.’
*The campaign was launched with an interim poster advising staff that although VA’s HQ/Drop-in Centre is closed during COVID-19 lockdown, help from its operations team is still available via telephone or email. It will be replaced, when restrictions have been lifted, with one signposting veterans to VA’s Victoria offices.