MoD urged to put its thousands of empty homes to use
An MSP has called on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to do more to house former veterans after new figures revealed a rise in the number of army homes left empty.
Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show the number of vacant MoD properties in Scotland increased from 690 in 2013 to 1136 last year.
Some are in need of modernisation or have structural damage but many are considered surplus and could be used as homes.
The five most common reasons for vacant MOD properties were:
- Surplus Service Family Accommodation (SFA) – the MOD’s policy is to wait for service personnel to vacate so that SFA’s can be disposed of in one cluster.
- SFA requiring modernisation.
- Structural, fire and flood damage.
- As Establishments are closing, the gradual process means that some MOD properties will be vacant for a period of time.
- The MOD has future plans to build up establishments and as current requirements are less than future requirements, this results in surplus MOD properties.
SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald, who represents Edinburgh Pentlands, has called on the MoD to do more to help homeless veterans.
Mr MacDonald said: “Risk of homelessness is all too common among veterans, some of whom will struggle to adapt to civilian life or who may suffer from mental illness such as PTSD.
“The MoD has a duty of care, and a moral obligation, to help those who have served.
“It’s not right that the number of homes left empty is skyrocketing when they could be put to use housing homeless veterans on their route to a permanent tenancy.
“Whilst the Scottish Government is stepping up their actions to prevent homelessness and homeless applications have reduced 39% over the past eight years, we need to see more action from the UK Government. The MoD need to play their part and bring this housing into use for the public good.”