Thousands of Kent homes stand empty
Around 13,000 houses in Kent and Medway are left empty for at least part of the year.
Homeless charity Porchlight is calling on those who do not live in a house permanently to “play a role in combating the homelessness crisis”.
With the vast majority of second homes registered in coastal regions of Kent, around 9,000 homes are left empty for around nine months every year.
Across the entire county more than 4,700 properties have not had anyone living in them for more than a year - while hundreds of people are sleeping on the streets.
To provide a shelter for homeless people in Kent, the head of Porchlight is demanding more must be done to address the imbalance.
Mike Barrett, chief executive of the organisation said: “Homelessness in Kent has reached frightening levels.
“Everybody deserves a place to live but with so many people sleeping on our streets, organisations like ours are struggling to cope with demand.
“Owners of second homes can play a role in combating the homelessness crisis.
“Recently, one of our supporters kindly donated his second home to Porchlight, meaning we’re able to bring more people in from the streets. We’d love to hear from more people who have a spare home and want to make a difference to those who have nowhere to sleep tonight.”
Swale borough council tops the charts with around 2,000 registered holiday homes - but the majority are static caravans which cannot be lived in all year round. Councils in Kent are charging a 50% council tax premium on second homes.
Some empty homes could be brought back into use