The Help 4 Homeless Veterans charity was created by Tom Wood in 2012. In October 2015 it employed its first member of staff, CEO Steve Bentham-Bates, tasked to develop the service beyond its Barnsley base. Working through the Community Covenant at Doncaster Council the charity signed an agreement with St Leger Homes to rent up to 10 properties initially that the charity then control and sub-let to homeless veterans as they approach the organisation for assistance. H4HV regular fund the rent from charitable money until such time as the individual can pay their way either by getting work or receiving benefits.
They signed for the 6th property under this scheme on 3rd May 2017, and already had a homeless veteran sofa surfing at a friend’s ready to move into it. Once H4HV sign for a house they then spend charitable donations and grants such as the £10,000 EN:Able Fund grant presented to Patron Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson in December 2016, to carpet and furnish the houses with white goods, sofa, bed, right down to pots and pans to convert them into homes. If one of their tenants remains with H4HV for 12 months H4HV then have the opportunity to transfer their tenancy across to St Leger Homes who will then allocate the charity a fresh house, so they will always have 10 properties available for use. H4HV are now in early discussions with the Armed Forces Champion at Chesterfield Council with a view to replicating this scheme there and following a recent presentation at a Huddersfield homeless event where the CEO told the Kirklees Mayor about H4HV’s work, there could be an opportunity to work with the council there too.
The homes H4HV are currently renting out are to former soldiers ranging in age from 28 to 80. 3 men are victims of domestic abuse which led to their homeless state, that is they had to escape the situations they were in. They also are housing a female former Army medic who had rescued seriously injured soldiers on the battle field, along with her 6-year-old child. Each person has their own individual problems, but mental health is a common theme. One soldier received a General’s Commendation for bravery for rescuing children from a burning bus in Afghanistan