Dartford revealed as worst borough for homeless numbers in Kent
PUBLISHED: 11:07 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:21 08 November 2017
It has also ranked fifth highest in the south east
Hundreds of people are living without a permanent home in Dartford as the winter months draw in.
Figures published by Shelter today reveal the borough has the highest number of homeless people per head in all of Kent, ranking in fifth across the south east.
In total, there are 642 homeless people across Dartford, meaning one person for 164 is living without a permanent roof over their head - above the national average of one in every 200.
Labour councillor Jonathon Hawkes says Dartford’s figures are part of a “national scandal”.
The leader of the council’s opposition said: “The fault of this lies squarely with the government.
“More needs to be done to allow councils to build new council homes, right now we can’t borrow money to spend on new council housing.
“It means people are in private rented accommodation, where there isn’t as much security around the cost of renting compared to social housing. That also needs to change.”
Right now there are 633 people living in temporary accommodation and nine rough sleepers in Dartford, a figure which has placed it among the top 50 highest boroughs for homelessness in the country.
Cllr Hawkes added: “More needs to be done to help our hidden homeless such as people who are sofa surfing. Councils across the country are spending more than ever on temporary accommodation, it just shows that this is a national scandal.”
In neighbouring Gravesham, there 153 homeless people, 141 of which are in temporary accommodation.
Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter said: “On a daily basis, we speak to people and families who are desperately trying to escape the devastating trap of homelessness. A trap that is tightening thanks to decades of failure to build enough affordable homes and the impact of welfare cuts.
“As this crisis continues to unfold, the work of our frontline advisers remains absolutely critical. We will do all we can to make sure no-one is left to fight homelessness on their own. But we cannot achieve this alone; we urgently need the public’s support to be there for everyone who needs us right now.”
A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “We are determined to tackle all forms of homelessness, which includes making sure people in temporary accommodation are getting support to keep a roof over their heads.
“We’re investing £950 million by 2020 to support these efforts, and bringing in the Homelessness Reduction Act. This requires councils to provide early support to people at risk of being left without anywhere to go.”