INCREASING numbers of veterans applying for help after becoming homeless have been received by Wiltshire Council, and could rise as the rebasing programme continues, according to a report by the authority.

A report into homelessness in the county found that while the amount of rough sleepers had fallen by 52 per cent, there had been a spike in veterans turning to the council for emergency help.

As thousands of service people continue to return from serving abroad there is likely to be more veterans in need for emergency housing.

Families of personnel who have experienced a relationship breakdown or bereavement may also need mere support, the environment committee heard.

Councillor John Smale said: “The Ministry of Defence keep in touch with those still serving. Many like to sleep out rough in summer, others have issues with mental health or other issues. We need to include the Ministry of Defence work with our work with the military to ensure they are looked after.”

In general a report on homelessness found sleeping across Wiltshire has dropped by 52 per cent since the Rough Sleeper Outreach Team was introduced in 2018.

In 2018 the council bid for funds from the national Rough Sleepers Initiative and was granted £312,245 for 2018/19 and £305,491 for 2019/20.

A group of councillors tasked with investigating homelessness found that no hotels or bed and breakfasts had to be used by Wiltshire Council for temporary housing, as people were able to go to the accommodation run by the rough sleeper outreach team.

However funding for the team is due to run out in 2020, and future funding has not been confirmed.

Cllr Steve Oldrieve said: “Outreach centres have made a difference since being established and it is imperative it continues.”

There is rough sleeper emergency accommodation in Trowbridge, Chippenham and Salisbury. Cabinet member for housing, Richard Clewer said: “For the vast bulk of people, we find housing for them. Our work with extra outreach has seen a significant reduction in the number of people sleeping rough. People end up sleeping on the street for a number of reasons and you can’t correlate that to addiction, mental health, army or debt issues, it tends to be several issues.”