Kent faces a mental health and housing emergency
The issues people are facing and how to get help
Kent faces a mental health and housing emergency because of coronavirus.
As the economy moves into a recession, job losses are leaving people unable to pay rent and facing eviction.
The mental health impacts of lockdown, employment uncertainty and worries about housing, heating and food are also having devastating consequences.
We estimate that up to 3,000 households in the county could be affected.
An important message for World Mental Health Day and World Homeless Day
We're encouraging people to reach out for help before the issues they’re facing become unmanageable.
It can be hard to take the first step and ask for support, but the sooner you feel able to talk to someone about the problems you have, the more we can do to help.
Anybody who is struggling can call our helpline. We’ll listen and give you honest expert advice and support. If we can’t help, we’ll put you in touch with people that can.
People on low incomes, those who were already experiencing poor mental health and may be feeling lonely or isolated, and people living in insecure housing – who were already struggling to keep their heads above water – are being hit hard.
If you reach out to us, you'll be able to receive help from two county-wide support networks: Live Well Kent and Kent Homeless Connect.
Live Well Kent
Live Well Kent is a network of local resources and services (including Porchlight) that can help if you're dealing with a range of overlapping problems, allowing you to access support for everything you're facing all in one place.
This can include help managing your mental health and physical health, finding education or work opportunities, or connecting you with other people if you feel isolated or lonely.
Live Well Kent is run by Porchlight and the charity Shaw Trust on behalf of Kent County Council and NHS Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Groups.
Kent Homeless Connect
Kent Homeless Connect is a network of specialist organisations (also including Porchlight) that helps if you're homeless or at risk of becoming so.
If you're struggling to maintain a tenancy, it can help address the underlying issues so you don’t become homeless. You can also access mediation services if there is a dispute with a landlord.
If you're sleeping rough, you will be given help to move off the streets and into safe accommodation. There, you will receive ongoing support to overcome the trauma of homelessness and address any other issues you're facing so you can rebuild your life.
Kent Homeless Connect is led by Porchlight and the charity Look Ahead on behalf of Kent County Council.
Lasting change instead of short-term target
If a second wave of coronavirus causes a surge in rough sleeping, help must extend beyond simply offering people somewhere to stay.
Tackling homelessness is about more than responding to people’s immediate needs by offering a bed, food or clothing. People need ongoing support if they’re going to make the longer lasting changes they need to move away from homelessness for good.
We must look at the long-term picture by housing people in their local area and giving them support for as long as takes them to regain their independence and reintegrate with the community.