Literature review: UK veterans and homelessness


This review considers a number of studies on homelessness to inform the Royal British Legion’s service and strategy development regarding single homeless veterans.


Homelessness among veterans has been a controversial issue since the Napoleonic Wars. Today, the media reports on veterans of more recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, who find themselves without a roof continue. There has been a feeling that veterans are particularly vulnerable to homelessness and are overrepresented amongst the ranks of those sleeping rough or residing in hostels. A number of researchers have examined whether either of these assumptions are indeed correct, if so why, and what can be done to address the issue. This document aims to give a brief review of these studies to inform the Legion’s service and strategy development in regard to homelessness amongst our beneficiary group. Previous research has concentrated largely on single men that were previously, or still, sleeping rough or occupying hostel accommodation. There has been little or no focus on veterans with dependants who find themselves homeless. This is perhaps because statutory homelessness assistance is easier to access for households with children. This review will therefore concentrate exclusively on single homeless veterans.