Signposting for Veterans at Woody's Lodge

A Veteran's Story: Finding a New Home

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The veterans who visit us at Woody’s Lodge all vary in age and background and will often find adjusting to civilian life once they’ve retired from active service challenging. At Woody’s Lodge, we approach the challenges and difficulties that our veterans, emergency services leavers and their families face in an environment that provides support and care. Find out more about one of our veterans that visits us, David, and his experience since serving in the Royal Navy.

Our Veterans: David

One of the veterans that visits us at Woody’s Lodge is David, he is 58 and served as an Officer in the Royal Navy for 23 years. Since leaving the Royal Navy, as so many of our veterans do, David has struggled with PTSD, anxiety and depression.

He first visited us here at Woody’s Lodge in February 2018. After a couple of months of visiting, David confided in our team that he was homeless and heavily in debt. We got him to register as a homeless person with Cardiff City Council, which he did in 2018. Our team made numerous calls to different organisations to try and help him find somewhere to live. However, as he was in receipt of a Naval Pension, he wasn’t eligible to receive housing benefit. This was a major obstacle in finding a suitable place in the private housing sector, as the rental charges were very high and beyond his scope. In addition, we had another problem in that Cardiff City Council did not seem to recognise the Armed Forces Covenant, and as he was a single person, he was classed as low priority.

His circumstances deteriorated to a position where he was forced to live in his car for at least three months. However, we contacted a C.A.B. Debt Officer with regard his debt problem, where we were able to arrange for the debt to be frozen and suspended until until David was able to make suitable repayments at a rate he can afford.

Amazing news came through in August 2018, when David was informed that he had been allocated a New-Build Local Authority apartment which would be available to him at the beginning of October 2018. With help from SSAFA and our team here at Woody’s Lodge, David was supplied with all basic needs to get him started, for example: furniture, crockery and cutlery. After a few months living in his new home, David was completely settled in and by February 2019, he had found a new job with Airbus. 

For us at Woody’s Lodge, this was a difficult and sad case to oversee, so it must have been awful for David, but it luckily resulted in a happy and positive outcome. However, it is all too often that veterans can find themselves in awful situations and the feeling of despair they must experience when they become homeless.

We have found that many veterans that need our help, really struggle with filling in forms and do not have the confidence to contact the relevant departments to try and establish what benefits they may be entitled to. With David, we made 4 visits to the Job Centre just to sort out his employment benefit. 

When we first met David, he was really struggling with his mental health and experienced suicidal tendencies, we are so pleased that we were able to support him in getting the help that he was entitled to and so desperately needed. With the right help and support, we can all turn a bad situation around.

If you, or someone you know is struggling like David was, here at Woody’s Lodge we can help. We can provide expert advice and support, as well like-minded people who have similar experiences to you. We are a Welsh Armed Forces charity with locations in North and South Wales; we can help with Housing & Support, Benefits, Pensions & Finance, Agency & NHS Referrals and Socialising & Friends. From one-to-one assistance with form-filling with a brew & a biscuit to Family Days and activities, our team are on-hand to ensure you receive the help and support that you need! 

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