After 23 years of service, veteran faces losing home

HOME From left, daughter Brodie Hampson, Mark Hampson, wife Janet and son Callum. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123041-3)
HOME From left, daughter Brodie Hampson, Mark Hampson, wife Janet and son Callum. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123041-3)
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HE’S put his life on the line for his country time and time again.

But war veteran Mark Hampson is facing homelessness.

He and his family will lose their forces house in Emsworth on September 26 and they have nowhere to go.

This is despite an assurance made by Prime Minister David Cameron, who vowed to give our heroes the support they need after leaving the forces.

Mr Hampson, of Sabre Way, served in the Royal Artillery for 23 years and toured Iraq and Afghanistan. He also survived a battle with cancer.

The 41-year-old, his wife Janet, 52, and children, Brody, 18, and Callum, 16, have been told to leave their home of 18 years by the MoD a year after he was discharged from the armed forces.

He said: ‘It’s a bit of a shock that it’s happened so quickly. The stress of it is a bit worrying – we don’t know where to turn.

‘I’ve served my time and thought there might be a bit of advice and help to go forward.’

Mrs Hampson said: ‘We were led to believe through the government that anyone who served would be at the top of the housing list. We’re not asking for benefits, all we want is to be housed.’

He applied to join the army’s security services but he said he was not deemed fit enough following his recovery from cancer.

Mr Hampson said he became a self-employed lorry driver to keep a roof over his family’s head.

But under the MoD’s Service Family Accommodation scheme, those who leave the armed forces are required to vacate the property.

They joined a housing association scheme with Chichester District Council to find a new home – but so far they claim it hasn’t worked.

Mr Hampson said they have been given a C rating in an A-D ranking system to bid for association housing – despite Mr Cameron saying in 2011 that former servicemen and women would be given support in healthcare, housing and employment issues.

The Prime Minister promised the formation of a new ‘heroes committee’ to help former servicemen and women ‘get the support they need.’

Catherine Kitchener, area manager of the Dorset and Hampshire Royal British Legion branch, was supportive.

She said: ‘We all know what Mr Cameron said and it would be great if it was achievable straight away.

‘With respect to this particular family, we’re hugely sympathetic to the needs of the family and to the work being done by any local authority.’

A spokesman for Chichester District Council said: ‘We’re unable to discuss specific details of individual cases. However, our Housing Interventions Team works closely with people to do everything they can to help.

‘When someone finds themselves threatened with homelessness our officers will offer advice and guidance and assist them to look for a suitable property within the Chichester district.

‘We work with people to look at all options, such as considering their local connections to other areas in their search for accommodation, and also offer general housing advice. In many cases we find suitable housing solutions for people, but these are not always taken.’

A MoD spokesman said: ‘We take great care to understand and accommodate for the needs of former service personnel.

‘This includes extending how long former service personnel can stay in service property following discharge or after leaving the armed forces.

‘Once this extended period has been exceeded, they are required to vacate the property to ensure it is available for a service family.

‘We understand that the local council’s Housing Interventions Team is in discussion with Mr Hampson.’