The Canterbury Hub

Latest news from CCCU's Journalism course


Homelessness predicted to increase in Kent this year

The number of homeless people in Kent has been a growing concern amongst residents and officials in recent years with at least 5,625 people experiencing homelessness on any given night last year according to homeless charity ‘Shelter’.

This statistic highlights the severity of the issue of homelessness and the acute need for action.

The charity also warned that the figures may worsen this year, with a projected spike expected.

When considering that there is roughly one homeless person for ever 330 people living in Kent, it becomes evident that solutions must be implemented to address the issue and provide support to those who need it.

How many of those homeless in Kent are children ?

It was also revealed earlier this year from the ‘Shelter’ that nearly half of those sleeping rough in Kent are children.

The fact that 48% of those sleeping rough are children highlights the devastating impact homelessness is having on the youngest and most vulnerable in our society.

Whilst out of the total number of those without a home in Kent, 73 were sleeping rough, 5,552 people who were mainly families were living in temporary accommodation.

Why is homelessness such a big issue in Kent?

Rising house prices

A report published by property group Rightmove found that the average price of a house in Kent is £453,684 as of March 15 2023 which is a 3% increase since 2019.

Tgis rise in house prices has made it increasingly difficult for people on low income or those who are unemployed to find affordable housing.

Limited affordable housing

Another factor contributing to homelessness in Kent is the limited availability of affordable housing. Additionally, the waiting list for social housing in Kent is ever growing with some people waiting years to be allocated a property.

As of the final quarter of 2022, it was revealed through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request that there were just under 20,000 people waiting to be housed by local authorities across Medway and Kent. Canterbury had the longest waiting list with 2,812 waiting…

Changes in benefits

Changes to the welfare system in the past decade, including the introduction of Universal Credit, have made it harder for some people to access the support and finances they need to sustain themselves and keep a roof over their head.

Mental health & addiction

Many people who are homeless may have an addiction to drugs, alcohol or suffer from mental health issues.

These issues can make it harder for people to access the services and support they need to find stable housing and accommodation.

Over 25% rise in alcohol related deaths in Kent and the South East

What do local people think about homelessness in Kent?

Homelessness seems to have become a bigger issue in recent years, there’s always so many people sleeping rough at night on the high street [Canterbury] in shop doorways” – Emma 21, student at Canterbury Christ Church University

Other people have taken to social media to express their concern at the level of homelessness in Kent.