Top
 

Housing Tag

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Rishi Sunak announce £200-million new government funding for the UK Armed Forces’ housing and accommodation.

 

Thousands of UK Armed Forces families across the UK will have their housing and accommodation improved and renovated thanks to nearly £200-million of new Government funding, announced last Friday (17th July) by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

On a joint visit to Catterick Garrison, the Ministers chatted to soldiers about the ways the improvements will help them. Over 5,000 personnel, plus their families will have homes modernised with new kitchens, bathrooms and furnishings including re-roofing to reduce the risk of mould and damp.

As part of the funding injection 3,500 service homes will be upgraded as well as single living quarters. This will improve life for UK Armed Forces personnel deployed at home and abroad to keep the nation safe, including in the fight to halt the spread of COVID-19.

The work will also make UK Armed Forces estates more environmentally friendly. New windows and doors will provide better insulation, energy efficient boilers will drive down bills, and solar panels and electric vehicle charging points will reduce the carbon footprint.

Families with young children will benefit from new play areas, roads will be resurfaced and energy efficient street lighting will help modernise sites as part of the funding.

The Defence Secretary invited the Chancellor to Catterick Garrison last week, which will benefit from investment in Service Family Accommodation, to announce the news.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“Our Armed Forces work incredibly hard to keep our nation safe, and so it is only right that they have a place they feel proud to call home.

“From introducing a generous Forces Help to Buy scheme to piloting a new rented accommodation model, we have made enormous steps in recent years to offer flexible housing for a modern workforce.

“This latest investment will benefit thousands of our personnel and their families, providing the standard of living they deserve.”

 

Improving accommodation and facilities across military estates will also be part of bold new plans, including replacing 30 WW2 accommodation blocks in Longmoor, Pirbright, Westdown, Knook, Nesscliffe, Castlemartin Camps and providing new accommodation for on-call personnel in Northern Ireland.

 

The investment is expected to sustain around 2,000 jobs through the work on housing improvements including plumbers, electricians, painters and decorators. This will be delivered through the existing National Housing Prime contract. Upgrades will begin in late summer and will be delivered over a period of two years.

 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:

“Day in, day out, our Armed Forces make huge personal sacrifices for our country, and it is our duty to ensure they have the best conditions possible.

“This news doesn’t just mean service homes across the country will be upgraded, but will see 2,000 jobs in sectors where they are needed the most, like plumbing and decorating – delivering our Plan for Jobs.”

 

CEO Naval Families Federation, Anna Wright said:

“Having a decent standard of accommodation is fundamental to serving personnel and their families feeling valued by the nation for their work and the sacrifices they make and this is something we have campaigned for, for some time. That funding of £200M has been secured is hugely welcome.”

 

Over the last four years £530-million has been invested in improvements to Service Family Accommodation. The additional £200-million funding package will continue to improve the standard of both homes for Service families and single living accommodation on military bases.

Improvements to accommodation sit alongside a suite of recent changes to military accommodation to make it more accessible and flexible for personnel and their families.

The MOD recently introduced new flexible working arrangements, expanded offerings to cohabiting couples and extended the Forces Help to Buy scheme until the end of 2022, giving our UK Armed Forces the chance to get a foot on the housing ladder. This has allowed military personnel to borrow a deposit of up to half of their annual salary, interest free, to contribute towards buying a home, moving house, or building an extension.

This follows the announcement last week that military children will be entitled to free breakfast and after-school childcare as part of ongoing measures to further support the UK Armed Forces and their loved ones.

 

Funding details - infographic

 

 

Posted on: 20th July, 2020
Updated on: 1st October, 2020

 

A government scheme to help Armed Forces families buy their own homes has been extended until the end of 2022.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced today (22nd October 2019) that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until 2022.

 

The Forces Help to Buy scheme has lent over £280 million to over 18,000 Armed Forces applicants since its introduction in 2014. The Forces Help to Buy scheme was set up to provide more flexible support to personnel by offering a larger advance of salary to facilitate a home purchase.

 

Serving personnel who meet the criteria can borrow up to half of their annual salary, interest free – up to a maximum of £25,000 – to pay towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s or estate agent’s fees.

 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

‘The extension of this scheme demonstrates the value we put on our Armed Forces and means service personnel can continue to realise the ambition of owning their own home or borrowing to extend.

It has already proven very popular amongst the Armed Forces community and by extending it further we will be able to help many more service personnel make those first steps on the property ladder or expand their home to fit their family.’

 

Last month the MOD announced the official launch of the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) pilot, which was rolled out at HMNB Clyde. FAM will provide financial support to service personnel at HMNB Clyde who want to rent or buy a home within a 50 mile radius of the base, giving personnel more choice where and with whom they can live. The scheme forms a part of the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a promise from the nation that those who serve or who have served, and their families, are treated fairly and not disadvantaged.

 

The NFF are pleased to see that the Government have listened to feedback from Royal Navy and Royal Marines families.

 

Read the full news story here. If you would like to know more about this scheme and your eligibility, please visit this link here. To read more about the Future Accommodation Model (FAM), visit here.

 

Posted on: 22nd October, 2019

In December 2016, the first phase of the Portsmouth Naval Base Navy Mews were opened.  The vision was to transform unused office space and to re-purpose them into bespoke, self-contained units, which would give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

 

Explained by Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, the need for single parents to maintain quality time in a safe homely environment with their children was first identified back in 2010. The collaborative working between the Chain of Command, Accommodation Officer Sara Williams and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) has successfully delivered the scheme.

During his last week as First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Philip Jones unveiled a plaque during the opening of the two additional flats at HMS Nelson alongside Accommodation Officer Sara Williams. (@MOD Crown Copyright, 2019)

 

However, it became apparent that the need for Service personnel to retain contact with family went far beyond purely single parents and 2 additional flats were created in 2019. The expansion of the scheme is to assist in maintaining moral component of operational capacity for all Portsmouth Naval Base Service personnel as well as indirectly support operational outputs as a retention positive measure.

 

These facilities are located in Dreadnought Building and have been funded jointly by RNRMC, Naval Base Commander (Portsmouth) and HMS Nelson’s Leisure and Amenities Funds (LAF). Additional collaboration has also come in the form of many generous donations from a number of sources. Most rooms benefit from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

 

All Service personnel are eligible to apply and each booking will be given a priority code (A, highest – E, lowest). Priority will be given to single separated parents with children. It is also worth noting that the cost of each flat varies according to the date(s) of the week required as well as the priority code you have been given, plus a mandatory payment per booking to cover accident insurance held by the LAF. There must be an Armed Forces sponsor to escort and remain with their guests at all times.

HRH The Princess Royal met LS Hooper, a single parent based at HMS Nelson, and his two daughters as she spent time visiting Navy Mews in late June 2019. (@MOD Crown Copyright, 2019)

 

The above information is to be reviewed by the Accommodation Office by May 2020. Please refer to Portsmouth Naval Base Temporary Memoranda (PNBTM) 32/19 for prices and full T&C. For booking and all other enquiries, please visit the Accommodation Office in Jervis Block. Alternatively, you can email Navynbcp-navynews@mod.uk or phone 02392 7222090.

 

Posted on: 21st June, 2017
Updated on: 11th July, 2019

FAM Pilot

The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) committed the Ministry of Defence to make a new accommodation offer, to help more personnel live in private accommodation and meet their aspirations for home ownership.

 

The way people live and work is changing and the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) reflects this, giving more choice to more Service personnel and their families over where, how and with whom you live.

 

Now that the pilot is live across all Services, FAM leads will test the policy and work closely with Service personnel to see how they respond. The pilot will run for around three years, and everyone’s feedback over that time will be hugely important. A decision will then be made about whether to expand FAM and roll it out to the rest of the UK over the following decade.

 

On 1st April 2019, more information on the model was released. The MOD has produced the following videos to give you an overview of FAM:

 

 

 

FAM is now live at HMNB Clyde, Aldershot Garrison and RAF Wittering.

Under FAM, entitlement to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) will no longer be allocated according to the rank of individuals, but will instead focus on the size of the family, promoting fairness and ensuring homes are fit for purpose. For those living on, or assigned to, HMNB Clyde it is important to know that Single Living Accommodation (SLA) and SFA will still be available, with no SFA properties sold off because of the pilot.

 

If you are happy in your current SLA or SFA at one of the pilot locations don’t worry, you don’t need to take any action. However, if you’d now like to consider renting or buying a home in the local area with support from the MOD, FAM makes this possible:

Eligibility
  • Regular or Full Time Reserve Service (Full Commitment)
  • Based at one of the pilot locations with 12 months or more left on your draft, or have an assignment there of 12 months or more during the pilot
  • Have 4 or more years of Service
Applications

If you decide you want to change your current accommodation and you want to rent then you will need to complete an Accommodation Preference Form (APF) in JPA. If you want to buy a house then you do not fill out the APF, instead you’ll need to take your legal paperwork to your Unit Personnel Office (UPO). If you choose to stay in your current SLA or SFA then you don’t need to do anything.

 

If you are due to be assigned to HMNB Clyde, you can choose your accommodation in line with the FAM policies. You can submit your APF in advance of your start date.

Note: Long Term Relationships (LTR)

It was also announced that Service personnel who are in a long-term relationship or have residential responsibility for a child will now be able to apply to live together in surplus SFA at all UK bases where properties are available, provided that you met the criteria. Please note that this is not part of FAM, but rather a new policy. This is not an entitlement to SFA. Find out more about your eligibility here.

Enquiries/ Further details
HMNB Clyde FAM Cell
Housing Options Scotland

Housing Options Scotland’s (HOS) “Military Matters” programme supports members of the Armed Forces community with any housing needs or issues. The charity offers free, independent information, advice and support to those who get in touch, and they can help with all kinds of housing tenure – from renting privately to social housing and home ownership.

 

Karen Campbell is the Military Matters broker at HOS and works with clients from the Armed Forces community. Support is offered on a 1-1 basis, where every client receives information and advice tailored to their specific circumstances.

 

Discover My Benefits

Find out what you could receive in payments and allowances, if you rent or buy a home under FAM via Discover My Benefits.

Information on gov.uk
Attachments

The MOD and the NFF’s Homeport magazine have also produced videos, articles and leaflets that can help you understand this update better:

Step-by-step guide:

 

Here’s what the first people to benefit from new choices in accommodation in HMNB Clyde have to say about FAM:

FAM informational poster.
FAM informational poster.
FAM guide front page.
Guide for existing renters at HMNB Clyde
FAM informational poster.
All you need to know about FAM (Homeport Summer '19, p.37-40)

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your thoughts on this pilot. Please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 1st April, 2019
Updated on: 15th October, 2020

** Update: This survey is now closed. Please see the results here. We would like to express our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to the survey.**

 

The Ministry of Defence is in the process of reviewing the provision of military housing from initial application through to the complaints process, including the future repair and maintenance contract, currently held by Amey. Please complete (and share) this Housing Survey to allow the NFF to use your views and feedback to influence the outcome of decisions made.

 

Naval Families Federation CEO Anna Wright said:

“Royal Navy and Royal Marines families provided evidence in relation to the Carillion Amey Service Family Accommodation (SFA) maintenance contract, which the Naval Families Federation presented to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee in 2016.  Members of the Committee recognised the importance of feedback from Armed Forces families. Please take up this invitation to have your voice heard on this important subject.”

 

This survey will run until midnight 30th November 2018 and takes 10-15 minutes to complete.

 

Please note this survey is for the new SFA maintenance contract and is not part of the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) project. Information on FAM can be found here.

 

Posted on: 7th November, 2018
Updated on: 17th January, 2019

The government has opened a consultation process on improving access to social housing for members of the Armed Forces community.

 

The result of discussions between the MOD’s Armed Force Covenant team, officials from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and other interested parties, the consultation outlines proposals for new statutory guidance for local authorities to help members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families, to gain access to social housing.

 

It is aimed primarily at local authorities, as well as members of the Armed Forces and Veterans and their respective spouses and partners, although other social housing providers and voluntary and community organisations representing tenants and members of the Armed Forces are also expected to have an interest.

 

Among the proposals are that newly-issued guidance would:

  • Bring together, update, and build on the existing statutory allocations guidance in relation to members of the Armed Forces issued in 2012 and 2013.
  • Make clear that local authorities are expected to disapply any local connection requirements from divorced or separated spouses or civil partners of Service personnel who are required to move out of accommodation provided by the MOD.
  • Set out how local authorities can ensure that members of the Armed Forces and Veterans suffering from mental ill health are given appropriate priority for social housing.
  • Set out how local authorities can identify applications from members of the Armed Forces and Veterans to ensure that they are considered appropriately.

 

These proposals relate to England only.

 

The consultation document can be found here, while responses can be supplied through this survey

or by emailing AllocationGuidance@communities.gov.uk

 

The consultation runs until March 8, and the views of individuals as well as groups are welcomed.

 

The Armed Force Covenant, created by the Armed Forces Act 2011, is a promise from the nation to those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, and those who have served in the past, and their families.

 

It states that they should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public services, and recognises that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have the given most such as the injured and bereaved.

 

Posted on: 10th January, 2019

 

**** Update: It has now been extended for a further three years – until the end of 2022. Please visit this page for more information. ****

 

A government scheme to help military families buy their own homes has been extended until the end of 2019.

 

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced yesterday (3rd December 2018) that the Forces Help to Buy initiative will remain open to new applications until 31st December 2019.

 

The scheme, established in April 2014, aims to address the low rate of home ownership in the Armed Forces by making it easier to take the first step onto the housing ladder, move to another property on assignment or make alterations to an existing home as family needs change.

 

Serving personnel who meet the criteria can borrow up to half of their annual salary, interest free – up to a maximum of £25,000 – to pay towards a deposit and other costs such as solicitor’s or estate agent’s fees.

 

More than 16,000 applicants have benefited from the scheme so far.

 

Following the announcement of this extension, Mr Williamson said:

“Everyone dreams of owning their own home, and this hugely popular scheme has already helped thousands of Service personnel realise that dream.

“By extending the scheme by a further year I really hope we can help many more first-time buyers, families and married couples get a foot on the property ladder.’’

 

Anna Wright, CEO of the Naval Families Federation, said:

“We were absolutely delighted to hear about the extension to this popular scheme.

“Our research shows that there is a strong aspiration to be a home owner amongst Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families. Having this option offers families more choice about where they live. They may choose to be close to a spouse’s employment or to particular schools.”

 

If you would like to know more about this scheme and your eligibility, please visit this link here. To read more about the Future Accommodation Model (FAM), which is the MOD’s housing pilot for serving personnel, visit here.

 

The Naval Families Federation welcomes your views on FHtB and FAM. Please do contact us.

 

Posted on: 4th December 2018
Updated on: 22nd October, 2019

The Future Accommodation Model (FAM) survey results have now been published. These will be used as part of the on-going policy development for the FAM, which will combine the survey with other results (e.g. the single Service Families Federations’ surveys) and Focus Group findings to refine the accommodation offer based on your feedback.

 

A Tri-Service FAM pilot scheme will be carried out in several locations throughout the UK. This was due to start in December 2018 but will now take place in 2019. Ministers are expected to confirm locations and start dates next year. The scheme is planned to run for two years and there will be a consultation period on completion of this. FAM is expected to be gradually introduced once the consultation period is complete.

 

To read the report in full please click here.

 

In addition, thank you to everyone who took part in our Future of Accommodation Model survey.

 

Here are the headlines of our findings from the Naval community.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Last updated on: 25th October, 2018

There are houses or flats available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Short Term Family Accommodation (STFA)

Short Term Family Accommodation is a group of Service Family Accommodation properties which have been set aside for use as temporary self-catering accommodation primarily for welfare reasons.

The Scheme is aimed at enabling Service personnel to utilise these facilities for both themselves and visiting friends or family members with priority always given to welfare/compassionate cases.

Service Personnel, Veterans, MOD civilians and their families can expect fully equipped Service Family Accommodation with everything they need, from duvets and linen, to TV/DVD players and cooking facilities. Properties are available for a minimum stay of two nights to a maximum stay of six months.

For further information, please click here.

 

Cotswold Centre

The Services Cotswold Centre provides secure and affordable temporary housing for serving personnel and their families from all three services.

The Centre is primarily open to those that are:

  • subject of emergency evacuation from overseas;
  • in transit between postings or retiring;
  • with welfare housing issues.

The accommodation is located near Corsham, Wiltshire. It can provide accommodation for up to six months. It comprises of 60 self-contained homes.

The three bedroom chalets and converted flatlets are all self catering. They are fully furnished and include a TV, fridge/freezer, crockery, bedding and towels. On-site facilities include a primary school.

Families may be accommodated if they are:

  • a Service person and/or their spouse/civil partner, whether or not they are accompanied by children or any other authorised immediate family members;
  • estranged families/spouses/civil partners of personnel who are able to cover the costs of their accommodation and living expenses;
  • injured personnel, their carers and/or immediate family members, where authorised by the Officer Commanding of the Centre and welfare providers – for the purposes of recuperation during rehabilitation.

This may include those in receipt of a Family Maintenance Grant. Families in UK SFA will only be accepted in exceptional circumstances – with authority from the single Service Housing Colonels.

Where a requirement falls outside of this eligibility, the parent Unit should seek advice from the Officer Commanding of the Centre.

Personnel should see 2015DIN01-029 on the Defence Intranet for further details, including the full eligibility criteria and the priority order for housing people in the Centre.

 

Navy Mews

The plan to take a tired and unused office space and re-purpose it into bespoke, self-contained units has been through many phases and challenges. However, as the New Year started, the official opening of the Royal Navy’s three new single parent units in Dreadnaught Block, HMS Nelson, turned plans into reality.

The aim behind the project is to give single serving parents the ideal environment to spend time and build relationships with their children when not away on deployment.

For some time a solution has been sought to address the challenges of finding a safe and comfortable place for personnel to use, and the Royal Navy hopes this will prove to be a huge step in helping separated families.

Commander Martin Evans, the Naval Base Executive Officer, explained:

“We identified a need back in 2010. If a Service person is the primary care-giver in a child’s life, the MOD will always provide a permanent home, however, separated single parents often struggle to retain quality contact because of a combination of the constraints imposed by Service life, the costs involved and significantly, the lack of an accessible home from home facility. We wanted to provide somewhere where these parents can have a semblance of normality, where they can eat together, play together and bond in a home environment – rather than a hotel and a weekend of fast food.

The project is a great example of collaborative working. RNRMC took on the mantle of securing the funding needed to deliver the project, successfully bidding for and raising the £250,000 required. This was just the tip of the iceberg in a project of this size and ambition. RNRMC’s Director of Relationships and Funding, Mandy Lindley said, “I am really delighted to see this project materialize. The close cooperative working with the Chain of Command and the Accommodation Officer, Sara Williams, has delivered, despite the many challenges that presented themselves as we progressed this plan. I have been involved with this project since arriving with RNRMC some 18 months ago and have seen the highs and the lows, and witnessed the sheer determination and innovation needed to ensure that this truly valuable resource could be made available for families.”

The three apartments each have a theme: ‘Poppy’ which has been adapted for any visitors who may need easier access or who have additional needs: ‘Shabby Chic’; and ‘Beach’. The finishing touches for each of the themed ‘Mews’ have been supplied via an innovative scheme which has involved the creative work of the wives and partners who attend ‘Friends at No 10’ (a Community House for Armed Forces families living in Portsmouth). Working with the Portsmouth based ‘Company of Makers’, the group from ‘Friends at No 10′ have created bespoke throws and cushions for the flats. Volunteers who attend the Friday sewing class, crafted unique, soft furnishings to help visitors feel welcome and at home.

Additional collaboration has come in the form of many generous donation from a number of sources, particularly from within the Service families’ community. Each room benefits from donated toys, games and books, providing the perfect environment for relationships to flourish.

To book Navy Mews, please call 02392 723 165 or email: NAVYNBCP-NAVYMEWS@mod.uk.

 

Stepping Stones

SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) have two Stepping Stones Homes in North West London and in Tyne & Wear. The Homes offer temporary supported accommodation to women with a Service connection (with or without children), who are in need of a secure environment and emergency accommodation. Applications should be made through the Welfare Authorities or Families Officers to SSAFA. More information can be found on the SSAFA website.

 

Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO)

The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) website has information for those who need re-housing. There is information on homelessness, Council housing, and affordable housing schemes etc. You can also get information on JSHAO’s regular housing briefings and their Housing Matters Magazine. Click here to visit their website.

 

Contact Houses/Welcome Houses

Contact Houses or Welcome Houses are the houses or flats on an estate, which are available to personnel who need temporary accommodation for short periods of time, either for themselves or their family. To find Contact Housing in your area, please visit the NS FPS website.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018
Updated on: 2nd December, 2019

When living in Service Family Accommodation (SFA), you will need to insure your home.

 

Standard home liability insurance does not cover Service family accommodation (SFA).

 

The Ministry of Defence recommends (JSP 464, Volume 1, Part 1, Section I, Paragraph 0605) that you take out a specialist type of insurance that covers your liability, up to £20,000, for any damage you or your family may do to your Service family accommodation. This is called ‘Licence to Occupy’ insurance.

 

The Services Insurance and Investment Advisory Panel (SIIAP) provides details of insurance providers who can ensure that you have the necessary ‘Licence to Occupy’ cover.

 

You may also wish to take out home contents insurance.

 

Posted on: 3rd May, 2018