Thou­sands of Kent homes stand empty

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - NEWS -

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

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