Numbers that are regularly questioned and even challenged. Our experience suggests that there are far more people on the streets with a history of military service than is immediately obvious. These young men, appear to fall into to two categories.
Young men who didn't do as well at school as they had hoped and discovered many doors closed to them upon leaving school. One door that remains open and welcoming is that of the army and many sign up to serve this country, only to discover that upon their demob a few years later, the same doors as still closed.
Young men who chose to join the army, as opposed to an alternative career, to be damaged by their experience within the armed forces. Their experiences in armed conflict causing deep rooted problems that can take years to rise to the surface.
A high percentage were in the care system before joining the army.
We are not suggesting that 15% of London's homeless are ex-servicemen, but rather 15% of users of the Whitechapel Mission are. This can be explained by the particular service provision of the Whitechapel Mission.
We have witnessed a reduction in the numbers of ex-service men in recent years and can report numbers far lower than just 3 years ago.