It's an inexcusable betrayal of Britains brave servicemen and women by our government. As most of the country sits warm and dry in their cosy homes this morning, 5,000 veterans face another day out in the cold. Five thousand proud and honourable soldiers who havent got a proper roof over their heads. Abandoned and forgotten, these heroes were prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They include former Royal Marine Nixon Browne, 29, who came home from Afghanistan 11 months ago with nowhere to live and was merely handed a list of charity phone numbers and told to get on with it. He now lives in a charity-run hostel in London. Five miles away, former paratrooper Thomas Jamieson ekes out a miserable existence in the doorway of a Central London shop. It is minus 5C and Thomas, 45, survives on the bitter-cold streets of the capital with the skills he learned in the army. Thomas and Nixon are just two of the 1,100 ex-servicemen sleeping rough or in hostels, squats or dossing on friends floors in London alone. A further 2,500 veterans are estimated to be in temporary accommodation in the capital at any one time, according to a University of York study. Across Britain, another 1,500 are reckoned to be homeless, a group so forgotten that no-one has even bothered trying to count them, let alone offer them the assistance they have earned. Worse still, military charities expect the numbers to rocket as troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, many maimed, return to civvy street only to find the economic slump means they cant get a job. Most homeless veterans are single men meaning they languish at the bottom of housing waiting lists, despite laws that say they should get priority. Even veterans left traumatised by conflict and with children to support are refused help by over-stretched councils and housing associations re-housing immigrants.
And we want a full UK-wide survey to properly pinpoint how many veterans are homeless and what they need to get back on their feet.