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'Help me find home' pleads Navy woman

PUBLISHED: 15:10 27 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 July 2010

Homelessness is being fuelled by a lack of support for ex-servicemen knocking on council doors for a roof over their heads, a Gorleston woman claimed this week.

Homelessness is being fuelled by a lack of support for ex-servicemen knocking on council doors for a roof over their heads, a Gorleston woman claimed this week.

Shani Perdicou says she has exhausted all avenues to stop people like her becoming homeless and is pressing for more awareness of the problem whereby people who are owed a debt of gratitude are left at the bottom the housing pile.

The 25-year-old is leaving the Royal Navy after five globetrotting years as a communications specialist travelling to the Far East, Baltic and Mediterranean ports and hot spots like Iraq sending and decoding messages.

Her contract comes to an end in August, but instead of the support she expected from her home town the borough council is adding to the stress and upheaval by saying she is a low priority for housing.

The former Oriel High School pupil who is based near Glasgow and lives mainly on HMS Shoreham said that although she has a job lined up it will pay nowhere near enough to cover rent in the private sector.

She said: “The only answer I was given from Homeselect was to go private which financially is not an option. I have spent my whole life in Great Yarmouth, where my family are from and where I will be working. I have protected, defended and been on the front line for my country yet I now feel completely let down by the system. I feel there should be some support or help for ex armed forces personnel homeless all over the country and unless this issue is raised the numbers will keep growing.”

Miss Perdicou said she knew of at least one ex-serviceman who had not been able to keep up with his private rent payments and was homeless in Hemsby.

Although she had joined up aged 20 others who joined up in their teens were ill-equipped for civilian life and faced problems adjusting and carrying out ordinary household tasks, she said.

Miss Perdicou is aiming for a new career in the probation or youth service. “I always thought that when you left the forces that you would be helped to get accommodation. The main reason I want to come back here is my family. Living with any of them is not an option because they have their own families.”

She said she loved Navy life but the 1000-mile round trip to visit her relatives was taking its toll. She has contacted Yarmouth MP Tony Wright.

A spokesman for the borough council said Miss Perdicou's situation would be reviewed once they had seen her official discharge papers.

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