Over 300 veterans who leave the Australian Defence Force each year experience homelessness, a figure that is 280 percent higher than the general population. Although most veterans manage the transition to post-service life, there is a group whose acute needs are not being met. In the limited provision of veteran-specific homelessness services throughout Australia, and particularly in Victoria where no services currently exist, veterans are being supported by an overwhelmed mainstream approach, if they are being supported at all.
In light of this, ex-servicemen and women, with the support of Vasey RSL Care, are launching a campaign to help their homeless comrades in Australia. It comes at a crucial time, as the ongoing Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide continues to highlight the need for support for veterans and their families and the crucial nature of the transition from military to civilian life.
“This change from a structured military environment to a civilian lifestyle can result in a significant loss of identity, purpose and community for service personnel,” says Janna Voloshin, CEO, Vasey RSL Care.
In partnership with the Australian Government, Vasey RSL Care is seeking to secure funding of $12.7 million dollars over three years to manage and operate an industry-first purpose-designed facility that will provide individualised housing and support services for veterans at a point of crisis and homelessness – The V Centre.
The V Centre will be in Melbourne and is the first step in a broader national engagement – a unique strategic initiative, based on service to the veteran community in their time of need, that presents an innovative and cost-effective solution to homelessness by providing stability and care, leading to improvement in the health and wellbeing of veterans and their families.
“The Australian Defence Force excels in integrating civilians into military life, and it is crucial for the same level of care to be provided for a smooth transition out of the military into civilian life,” says Voloshin.