The new scheme, supported by the Merseyside Aged Veterans Partnership, hopes to provide housing, health, and well-being advice to more than 760 men and women in the Merseyside area over the next three years.
The service will be open to older military veterans born before 1 January 1950. Figures show 62,000 veterans live on Merseyside, and that almost half of these are over the age of 75.
The new partnership will see Shelter work alongside a number of local organisations in delivering the new service, including Veterans HQ, Sefton Veterans Project, Everton in the Community, St Helen’s Veterans Project, FACT, Tranmere Football Club and Liverpool City Council.
Former serviceman Alan Kelly, 82, from Anfield, said: “I know from experience that ex-service staff can be very proud people, who often find it hard to ask for help.
“But a sudden change in life circumstances, such as a partner passing away, can really turn someone’s life upside down.
“By speaking in a language we know, and with our background in mind, I think this new partnership will make a real difference to the quality of life for older soldiers like me.”
Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotherham, who attended the launch event at the Port of Liverpool Building on 30 January, said: “In my manifesto last May, I made a very specific commitment to a “fairer deal for current and former military personnel”.
“I made that commitment because of the raw deal that too many members of our armed forces community face.
“Ours was the first Combined Authority in the country to sign the Armed Forces covenant, and we participate in regular co-ordinating meetings, held by Armed Forces champions and officers from the city region’s six local authorities.
“The Aged Veterans’ Partnership is a fantastic initiative – which will act as a lifeline for many of those who have given so much for our country. It has my full support.”
Shelter CEO Polly Neate added: “There are thousands of older ex-service men and women in Merseyside – they often live alone, are widowed and their support networks are depleted making them feel very isolated.
“Whether they are homeless, renting or have a home of their own, it’s vital that older veterans get the advice and support they need.
“That’s why Shelter and its partners across Merseyside are launching this innovative scheme to provide tailored housing, health and wellbeing support.”
Anyone in the Merseyside area in need of support or advice is urged to contact Shelter Merseyside on 0344 515 1900.