Gosport disabled Army veteran’s anger at being left ‘homeless’

Mark Dodd
Mark Dodd
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AN ARMED forces veteran said a council has left him homeless after refusing to grant him housing.

Army veteran Mark Dodd, 61, hopes to move back to his hometown of Gosport with his wife Pat, 60, after a debilitating limb disease forced him from his dream home in France.

Upon returning to the UK with his wife and pet dog Luna, a two-year-old Sharpei cross, he went to Gosport Borough Council for help finding a house – but has been told they will not help him as he already owns a house.

Mark said: ‘I spent nearly a decade in the armed forces, with the rest of my career being with the Ministry of Defence.

‘I moved back to the UK because I needed a number of operations on my legs – going back to France is simply an impossibility.

‘The house is on the market over there and I have been sofa surfing since coming back – which is hardly the ideal situation to be in.

‘I spoke to Gosport Borough Council about finding a home in the town, because I need to find somewhere to stay.’

Gosport’s council has signed an armed forces covenant pledging to help veterans.

Mr Dodd joined the Army in 1972 and later worked in the Ministry of Defence.

Back in November a senior council officer said scores of families were on the housing waiting list.

Around 69 families were waiting for a four-bedroom home in Gosport – with just two becoming available in two years.

Gosport-born Mr Dodd, who served in Northern Ireland and is currently staying in Wickham, said the ordeal has been taking a toll on him mentally.

‘I am rather heartbroken by it all really – this is an incredibly stressful situation to be put in,’ he said.

‘I’m certainly not getting any younger, and to have the options of either sofa surfing, sleeping in my car or sleeping on the streets is genuinely rather terrifying.

‘I am fortunate that my brother has kindly put me up in his place for a while, but it is far from a permanent solution.

‘I am genuinely gutted about what has happened, especially considering that when I spoke to the council back in October they told me I just had to put in an application – because I could go into sheltered housing.

‘To now be told that there is no chance of me getting somewhere to live really is soul-destroying.

‘Apparently we cannot be put on to a council list for housing, even though the property in France is up for sale, so I’m in a bit of a bind with it all.’

Julie Smith is head of housing at Gosport Borough Council.

She said: ‘We have every sympathy for Mr Dodd’s predicament.

‘His case is under review.’