Thou­sands stuck in homes list limbo

Last week, we re­ported on the plight of mother of three Lesleigh Gre­gory, who is forced to live in a sin­gle room. But as Alex Clar­idge finds out, meet­ing the hous­ing needs of the district is not an easy task

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Spotlight On Housing -

There are not enough prop­er­ties avail­able for peo­ple who come to Can­ter­bury City Council for help find­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The au­thor­ity ad­mits that sup­ply can­not keep up with de­mand, and that peo­ple find­ing them­selves on the hous­ing wait­ing reg­is­ter are com­ing to the council with in­creas­ingly com­plex needs.

These are the claims from the council of­fices in Mil­i­tary Road af­ter this news­pa­per re­ported the case of a mother-of-three liv­ing with her chil­dren in a cramped sin­gle room in Herne Bay, af­ter a fire at her de­stroyed her rented Sturry home in De­cem­ber.

Since then, Lesleigh Gre­gory and her chil­dren have been forced to live in damp tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion, sleep­ing on two beds and with a kitchen area con­sist­ing of lit­tle more than a mi­crowave and a fridge.

The prob­lem the council faces is what it de­scribes as a “chron­i­cally short sup­ply” of three-bed­room prop­er­ties for the fam­ily.

The council points out that all of the peo­ple on its wait­ing list have their own in­di­vid­ual needs.

And Lora Mccourt, the council’s com­mu­nity ser­vices manager for hous­ing so­lu­tions, says it al­ways strives to find them some­where to live.

“Our ethos is that when some­one comes to us, they don’t leave our of­fices with­out at least an op­tion for the fu­ture,” Ms Mccourt said.

“When they come to us, it’s their op­por­tu­nity to tell us their story.

“We ap­pre­ci­ate that a lot of peo­ple are in hard­ship, and peo­ple are in­creas­ingly com­ing to us with com­plex needs – be they men­tal is­sues or med­i­cal is­sues.”

This was high­lighted on Fri­day when a man who had gone to the council to dis­cuss his hous­ing is­sues tried to take an over­dose of pills.

Such in­ci­dents demon­strate that hous­ing needs are in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to other as­pects of peo­ple’s lives.

Thus the au­thor­ity val­ues its part­ner­ship work with bod­ies such as the NHS, so­cial ser­vices and the Ci­ti­zens Ad­vice Bu­reau.

Judg­ing by the scale of the task fac­ing the au­thor­ity, it is help they could well use.

“There are 2,500 peo­ple on the hous­ing reg­is­ter look­ing for any­thing from one-bed­room flats to five-bed­room houses.

Pic­ture: Paul Amos FM4878959

Lesleigh Gre­gory in the bed­room she shares with her chil­dren, Laiella, Evie and Al­bert

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