Housing advice for the Armed Forces
Herefordshire has a proud and strong connection to the Armed Forces community and recognises the outstanding contribution serving personnel, veterans and their families make protecting our nation.
Herefordshire Council is a key stakeholder in the Herefordshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership. The partnership is a cross-sector group that meet regularly to ensure that the local Armed Forces community is not disadvantaged in anyway and to improve access to services and support.
We recognise that because of the unique circumstances of military life that it can sometimes be challenging to find affordable housing in an area you wish to settle in your new civilian life.
If you're still in the Armed Forces
If you are still in the Armed Forces but you are thinking about leaving and want some advice about your housing options, you should contact the Ministry of Defence's Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO).
The JSHAO provides service personnel and their families with advice about civilian accommodation options. Their telephone advice line is 07814 612120. They provide comprehensive guidance on:
- Buying a house and renting private property
- Independent financial advice and understanding the mortgage process
- Affordable home ownership schemes
- Forces help to buy
- Social housing and the MOD referral scheme
Applying for social housing in Herefordshire
Herefordshire Council do not own or manage any homes. All social housing, also known as affordable housing, is owned and managed by registered providers often known as housing associations, operating in the county.
Home Point Herefordshire is your first step in obtaining affordable housing. It is a choice-based lettings agency that was set up in partnership between Herefordshire Council and the main registered providers in Herefordshire. Home Point holds the central register for people in need of affordable rented homes in the county.
You can find more information on finding a home, housing options and how it works on the Home Point website. All applicants must complete a housing options assessment as the first step to getting advice and assistance with finding accommodation. The assessment will provide you with options that might be suitable for you as an alternative to affordable housing, which is in short supply within the county.
Herefordshire Council is responsible for setting the priority needs and allocation policy for the housing register. As part of its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant to improve access to social housing for the Armed Forces community the council has fully adopted the government's recommendations to qualify for social housing. Key areas are listed below:
Local connection requirement
If you have served in the regular or reserve forces in the last five years, unlike the civilian population, you will be exempt from residency requirements (for example, having a local connection). This is because you were not given a choice where you lived or how often you moved - therefore, we remove this disadvantage. This includes:
- Members of the Armed Forces and former service personnel (veteran), where the application is made within five years of discharge
- Bereaved spouses, unmarried and civil partners of members of the Armed Forces leaving services family accommodation following the death of their spouse or partner
- Serving or former members of the Reserve Forces who need to move because of serious injury, medical condition or disability sustained as a result of their service
- Divorced or separated spouses, separated unmarried and civil partners of members of the Armed Forces who have lived in services family accommodation for a minimum of two years and are required to vacate the services family accommodation following a relationship breakdown
When making an application to the housing register, a financial assessment will be made where capital and savings are taken into consideration. These may be disregarded if there are exceptional circumstances. For example, it is standard practice to disregard any lump sum received by a member of the Armed Forces as compensation for an injury or disability sustained on active service.
Higher priority can also be given to those who have urgent housing needs. This includes:
- Serving members of the regular Armed Forces who need to move because they are suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is attributable (wholly or partly) to their military service
- Former members of the regular Armed Forces (veterans)
- Bereaved spouses or civil partners of members of the regular forces who have left or will be leaving services accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence following the death of their spouse or civil partner and whose death was attributable (wholly or partly) to their military service
- Serving or former members of the reserve forces who need to move because they are suffering from a serious injury, illness or disability which is attributable (wholly or partly) to their military service
However, please note that even with higher priority, social housing in Herefordshire is in short supply. It could be a while before a property becomes available. Unfortunately the Armed Forces Covenant does not give you an immediate right to housing. However, Herefordshire Council's housing allocation scheme policy aims to remove any disadvantage due to the changing nature of military life by applying parity and fairness to our procedures.
Veteran Housing in Herefordshire
As part of Herefordshire Council’s ongoing commitment to improve services to our Armed Forces community and to meet an identified housing need, two major building projects have been undertaken offering veteran housing:
- The veteran self-build project located in Leominster was completed at the end of 2020 on land transferred from Herefordshire Council to Stonewater Housing. Nine veterans, a number who were homeless, worked alongside developers, Harpers, supported by homeless charity, Alabare. The veterans obtained construction qualifications whilst building their own homes. A total of 19 homes (ranging from one to three bedrooms), were built with the majority going to veterans and their families. As well as gifting the land, Herefordshire Council were key strategic and funding partners in the project. Read more about the veteran self-build project.
- Funding from both Herefordshire Council and Homes England through the Almshouse Consortium enabled The Buchanan Trust to build four new veteran properties on their farm estate at Bosbury, Herefordshire. The Trust provides temporary residential accommodation for former service men and women and their families, to help them adjust to civilian life. In addition to housing, veterans are given access to work experience, accredited training skills and employment opportunities in the rural and construction sectors. The homes were officially opened in May 2021 by celebrity Ross Kemp
There are a range organisations, many of them local, on hand to assist our Armed Forces community whatever your concerns might be, large or small. A comprehensive list is on our Armed Forces Covenant pages.
Out of hours helplines
- Combat Stress: 0800 138 1619
- Royal British Legion: 0808 802 8080
- Veteran Gateway: 0808 802 1212