Complex demands and scarce supply
The council has to prioritise between those on its register, placing people with the most critical medical needs at the top and individuals who are neither on benefits or ill at the bottom.
Other factors play a part, including geography, with people expressing preferences about living in particular parts of the district. Some people ask for properties in villages, while one person was content to spend 11 years on the waiting register for the sake of living in a certain road.
Lesleigh Gregory is not on the housing register, but is considered legally homeless – one of 75 names on the council’s homelessness list.
Such situations are not always instantly solveable, says Lora Mccourt, Canterbury City Council community services manager for housing solutions.
“We might find that suddenly lots of three-bedroom accommodation becomes available or we might find ourselves waiting a long time for it,” she said.
“It might sound like a cliche, but it’s really a case of how long is a piece of string.
“Lesleigh is now second in line for a three-bedroom house. The whole thing is not made easy by the fact that demand is bigger than supply.
“Our current housing stock is 5,000 – we could fill that twice easily.
“We try to be innovative in our approach, and we are constantly asking ourselves what we can do about the situation.”
The council, for example, is next month launching a social lettings agency to pair landlords with tenants.
It also tries to encourage people to acquire life skills even basic things such as cookery skills so people can remain in and make the best of the accommodation they are found.
With some young people finding themselves in need, the council even mediates between them and their parents in order to try to keep them at home for longer.
Council staff also attempt to reassure private landlords that just because a person may be on benefits, they would not make a poor tenant.
Ms Mccourt said: “It is a juggling act and we have to be as transparent as possible in our work.
“We work with families as best we can. We have got to be there for everyone.”
Council housing officer Lora Mccourt