Ex-soldier launches shipping container 'village' for homeless veterans
An Afghanistan war veteran has launched a campaign to make Britain’s first shipping container village.
Darryl Holmes, who served in the British Army between 1998 and 2004, launched a JustGiving crowdfunding appeal after he learnt around 13,000 veterans became homeless after leaving the military.
The 36-year-old, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 before being struck down by multiple sclerosis in 2004, which left him paralysed for four months, said he was fighting for the rights of Britain's war heroes.
Mr Holmes, who also suffers from PTSD, said he hoped to raise £500,000 to accommodate homeless service veterans.
He said: "This is unacceptable and a national travesty; many of our veterans are homeless due to illnesses such as PTSD after serving our country, and not through choice.”
Mr Holmes added that he had come up with what he felt was “an excellent solution to this growing problem”.
"Building a community with shipping containers is a cost-effective way to give these veterans not only a shelter but an avenue to reintegrate effectively back into our society, for which they served many years,” he said.
"This would also give them an address and a postcode so they can seek out work and benefits while getting themselves back on their feet."
Mr Holmes, of Northants, added that the containers were “a cost-effective way of making safe temporary accommodation” and said he planned to work “closely with the local council to get the estate a recognised road”.
"This will give our veterans back a sense of pride and self-worth, which they may have lost after leaving service and being unable to cope and reintegrate into civilian life,” he said. “This will reduce the number of veterans who are forced to live on the streets they protected.”
Mr Holmes added: "For a lot of you, a couple of pounds is not a lot, its a cup of coffee, or a pint of whatever your tipple is down the local, but for homeless veterans, it could be the start to building a future."
He said he hoped that the £500,000 scheme would allow veterans to 'kick-start' their lives by getting off the streets and into the shipping container homes before finding a job and then their own home.