New partnership to help homeless veterans in Sunderland

Gerard Fowler, left, founder and project lead for (Veterans in Crisis Sunderland, and Michelle Meldrum, executive director (operations), Gentoo. Picture by John Gillender Photography
Gerard Fowler, left, founder and project lead for (Veterans in Crisis Sunderland, and Michelle Meldrum, executive director (operations), Gentoo. Picture by John Gillender Photography
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Twenty military veterans and their families have found permanent homes in the city following a successful collaboration between Gentoo and Veterans in Crisis Sunderland.

The charity works to identify and support veterans who are homeless, have alcohol or drug dependencies, mental health issues or who suffer social isolation.

Through the partnership, individuals in need of housing or rehoming are referred to Gentoo from the group and are able to view and apply for available properties throughout Sunderland.

A 68-year-old veteran was recently handed the keys to his new home, having previously been staying at the Salvation Army’s Swan Lodge Lifehouse when he found himself homeless.

Gentoo were not only able to provide him with a property, but also with items to furnish it.

The veteran said: “This has changed my life, I was homeless until I was helped by Veterans in Crisis Sunderland. Within weeks I had a home to call my own, I am absolutely over the moon.”

Michelle Meldrum, executive director (operations) Gentoo, said: “This is a great example of how partnership working can help tackle homelessness in our city.

“Our veterans are heroes in their own right and we a delighted to be working with Veterans in Crisis Sunderland to provide them with a safe place to call home.”

Gerard Fowler, founder and project lead with Veterans in Crisis Sunderland, said: “The partnership is getting stronger by the day. They are a constant support for the veterans of Sunderland and the outcomes of the collaboration have been brilliant.

“We have managed to get homeless veterans off the streets in no time at all”

Gentoo proudly received a Silver Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.

Silver Award holders demonstrate an exceptional level of support for defence services, show flexibility towards reservist employees’ training and support the employment of cadet instructors, armed forces veterans (including wounded, injured and sick) and military spouses/partners.

The partnership with Veterans in Crisis Sunderland is an example of how Gentoo work with local businesses and the community to support veterans.

If you are a veteran or ex-military personnel and are homeless or need support you can contact Veterans in Crisis Sunderland by calling 07398 916 590 or info@veteransincrisis.co.uk