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Veterans Aid is a charity supporting ex-servicemen and women in crisis. The organisation offers a diverse range of interventions, providing immediate, practical support to veterans who have served in HM Armed Forces who are homeless, facing homelessness or in crisis. Support is offered regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, rank or length of service.

Veterans Aid approached Pro Bono Economics to carry out an economic analysis of the costs and benefits of its work with veterans. We matched Ingrid Petrie from SYSTRA Ltd with this project, who assessed the extent to which Veterans Aid helped veterans reach improved outcomes in six key areas of support (including remaining in accommodation, tackling substance abuse, and gaining employment), as well as assessing the costs incurred 2016/17 to support veterans in the sample. The potential benefits of this work have been quantified in the form of fiscal savings to government through reduced demand on public services, increased employment income, and wider benefits to society. The study is based on data provided by Veterans Aid for a sample of 166 veterans that it supported in 2016/17 (the ‘client sample’).

The findings of this report show that 88% of the veterans helped with emergency accommodation and homelessness prevention were still in accommodation at the six-month follow up contact. Across all six intervention areas in the sample, 79% of interventions led to a positive outcome (including continued abstinence, improved mental health, and full or part-time employment). The estimated potential gross benefit of the support provided to veterans in the client sample is around £965k, with around one-third of the estimated gross benefit arising from fiscal savings that are primarily related to lower public expenditure on homelessness and health services and the other two-thirds through increased economic value from employment. These benefits were achieved against costs of £274k in 2016/17 in supporting veterans in the client sample. This figure is likely to underestimate, potentially significantly, the actual costs incurred for these veterans: some are likely to have received support in previous years that may have contributed to achieving a successful outcome in 2016/17.

We would like to thank Ingrid for all her work on this report; this can be downloaded by filling out the short survey below.

Pro Bono Economics was supported by City Bridge Trust, the funding arm of The City of London Corporation’s charity, Bridge House Estates (1035628), to carry out this project.

7th January 2019