A WORD FROM… COLLETTE MUSGRAVE, AFF CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Our winter issue focuses on your home, as housing continues to be the subject that you raise most frequently with us.

We know from our 2020 Big Survey that Service Family Accommodation (SFA) remains a really important source of housing for army families, and we’ve been focussing on gaining a better understanding of the challenges that you’ve faced getting SFA that meets your needs as a family.

I lived with my soldier for 15 years before we got married, so I know first-hand some of the challenges of being in a ‘different’ type of relationship.

Offering families that are not in a marriage or civil partnership the opportunity to apply for surplus housing has been a really welcome step forward – but it is not always straightforward.

You’ve told us about the sense of insecurity that many of you in surplus accommodation have when thinking about your next posting, and the potential disappointment when, having managed to get your relationship status approved, you could find that there are no available houses to move into.

Meeting nuanced needs

We’ve also been looking at families who have specific needs in their SFA, and how these can be met – there’s more on page 22. We’re pleased to see the plans within the Future Accommodation Model (FAM) to extend entitlement rather than just eligibility for housing, but there’s more to be done now to provide support.

And it’s clear that – when it comes to FAM – all families want to see SFA as part of that choice!

Finally, AFF has worked hard over the last couple of years to make sure that your voices have been heard as the new contract for allocating and maintaining SFA has taken shape. Your evidence was key in making changes to some of the ways in which the new companies will be working; so please continue to let us know your experiences as the contracts roll out in the spring, so we can keep making a difference.

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