Coventry & Warwickshire

Coventry hostel for homeless ex-military personnel opens

A centre in Coventry has been set up by a charity to help homeless war veterans.

The eight-bed hostel will help ex-service personnel get off the streets and is the first of its kind in the city.

Twice a week, homeless outreach workers walk the streets of Coventry checking on rough sleepers offering help.

Peter Bennett, 47, has been working with the Coventry Cyrenians charity to set this facility up.

Mr Bennett, an ex-senior gunner in the 40th Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery, served for 12 years including a tour in the first Gulf conflict.

'Different approach'

He admits the three years he lived rough, his life went into a downward spiral.

He said: "I expected that the welfare system would support veterans after what we have done for the country".

He left the Army in 1991, but after returning home he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and ended up living on the street.

Mr Bennett eventually moved into the Salvation Army hostel in Hillfields, and in 2011 they helped him get his own rented flat.

He does not believe veterans deserve special treatment, but believes their distinct problems require a different approach.

From July 2011 - 2012, the British Legion in Warwickshire provided financial assistance to 411 ex-military, of which 23 were homeless & they helped get in to a property.

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