Riverside Op FORTITUDE

Securing £8.5m for homeless British military veterans

Military veterans are at a high risk of homelessness – yet organisations trying to help have faced years of insecure and inadequate funding.

The government directly funded just two per cent of the 966 specialist housing units for veterans, with councils and charities increasingly unable to cover the gap.

The problem came to a head when Riverside, one of the UK’s biggest social housing providers, was forced to close its specialist support services for homeless veterans at The Beacon.

We raised awareness of the closure – and funding issues – in the national press before designing and executing a communications campaign aimed at bringing about lasting change.

We commissioned polling which showed 76% of people thought the government had a duty to end homelessness.

We also worked with leading Conservative voices on military issues – including Colonel Bob Stewart MP and Tom Tugendhat MBE MP – to add their weight to the campaign for the Government to invest money in supported housing for British military veterans.

In late 2022 our campaign proved successful after Government announced £8.5million of funding to secure specialist units for veterans, plus a new referral pathway to link those working with homeless veterans to those providing accommodation nationwide.

Riverside were invited to Number 10 for the announcement – with director of operations Lee Buss-Blair quoted alongside veterans’ minister Johnny Mercer in all government communications. We worked with the Office for Veteran’s Affairs to secure widespread national media coverage for the launch of Op FORTITUDE.

In it’s first week of operation Op FORTITUDE helped bring inside 23 British military veterans who had been sleeping rough on the streets.