Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

HOMES FIT FOR HEROES; Veterans Get the Help They Deserve

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

HOMES FIT FOR HEROES; Veterans Get the Help They Deserve

Article excerpt

Byline: DAN WARBURTON

CIVVY Street is about to become finally civilised for a lost generation of heroes.

More than pounds 700,000 is being pumped into a new project to help ex-servicemen and women left homeless after fighting for their country.

A social housing scheme is being set-up in Newcastle's West End to help the veterans find their feet after falling on hard times.

Soaring numbers of veterans from conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia are flooding the region with hundreds left homeless or forced to sleep on friends' sofas.

And today Veterans' Minister Kevan Jones, lent his support to the scheme.

The Durham North MP, said: "It's an excellent idea.

"There needs to be extra provision for homeless veterans and this project is very welcome.

"This is the only centre of its kind on Tyneside but if it's successful then it could be rolled out across the country. "This is particularly important for our region because the North East is a big recruitment area for people joining the Army.

"The majority of people who leave adjust into civilian life very well but there is a small minority that do not and it's important they get the support they deserve."

Situated on Bentinck Road, in Elswick in Newcastle's West End, the Norcare Veterans Centre will provide accommodation for five people at any one time, with 70 veterans passing through the centre each year.

And it is hoped 35 veterans will visit the centre on a daily basis to access facilities including employment advice, welfare and debt advice, and specialist help for trauma.

Susan Bickerton, the chief executive of Norcare, said: "The public is aware of the ongoing conflicts but society has forgotten the army of war veterans that have returned from combat, left the forces and fallen on hard times.

"Hundreds if not thousands of war veterans have slipped through the support net and are extremely vulnerable.

"They are either homeless and living on the streets or are 'sofasurfers' and bedding down in the living rooms of friends and family as they have nowhere else to sleep. …

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