This is Matthew Dennis, an ex British soldier who served in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment in Northern Ireland and Bosnia.
He is also the ex British soldier left homeless by the very government he risked his life for, because he was “not a priority case.” To be a ‘priority case’, you have to have drug or alcohol addictions among other things, and because Matthew has none of those, he was turned away.
Armed forces charity UK Homes 4 Heroes were not happy about it either, and slammed the council for failing to protect the former soldier.
This is what Matthew had to say:
“I do feel let down. There are a lot of ex-servicemen out on the streets. Many find it difficult to ask for help, others just say ‘that’s life’ and deal with it.
“I went to the council for help. They said since I don’t have any problems with drugs or alcohol, I am not a priority.”
Since leaving the army, he has worked as a builder, plasterer and kitchen fitter but recently lost his job last month and was subsequently evicted from his flat in Bournemouth when rent became impossible to get together.
Thankfully, UK Homes 4 Heroes managed to place Matthew in temporary accommodation, but the future doesn’t look promising. And as the charity is only tiny, the £95 a week it costs to keep Matthew off the streets will become a strain.
Spokesman for the charity, David Wood said:
“The covenant, which was enshrined in law in 2011, outlines a duty of care our society owes our armed services, who have represented the country.
“Part of that duty is to ensure they are a priority for housing when they are vulnerable, as they are when they are on the streets exposed to the elements and attacks by others.”
Bournemouth Borough Council have since told Matthew that they are happy to review the decision and revisit discussions for housing.
Photo credit: RichardCrease/BNPS