Three solutions to ending homelessness in Kent
We're adapting the way we help people
This World Homeless Day, we're highlighting new approaches to tackle homelessness in Kent.
World Homeless Day is a time to raise awareness of the growing issue of homelessness and we know there's more to be done.
Homelessness continues to be a major issue across the county. In the past six months, we have been aware of:
Although homelessness services have benefited from extra central government funding in recent months, money alone won’t solve the homelessness crisis.
Helping people to overcome the emotionally damaging effects of rough sleeping and rebuild their lives is not a quick process and if we’re to end homelessness, we must find new ways of helping those who need it the most. To do this, we’ve launched a series of new initiatives.
We've introduced the Housing First scheme to Kent.
It's about moving rough sleepers with the most complex needs straight into a home of their own instead of a homeless hostel. This gives them a sense of ownership, empowerment and has been proven to help people who struggle living in a hostel environment.
It has had a dramatic effect in other countries and has virtually eliminated rough sleeping in Finland.
Specialist support for homeless women
Kent has one of the highest percentages of women sleeping rough in the country. Shockingly, one in five rough sleepers in Kent is a woman.
Women are particularly vulnerable on the streets. They live in fear of being attacked, exploited or worse. Many stay hidden and are less visible than men, meaning opportunities to help them are being missed.
Porchlight is aiming to change this by developing support services specifically for homeless women.
Working together to end homelessness
To really make a difference it’s important that councils, homelessness charities, and substance misuse and mental health services work closely together.
One way we’re doing this is with Kent Homeless Connect - a network of specialist services led by Porchlight and Look Ahead on behalf of Kent County Council.
Porchlight is also hosting a conference about tackling homelessness in Kent on World Homeless Day. It will bring together professionals from the housing sector, business and church leaders, local authority representatives and academics to share ideas and swap expertise.
What more must be done
We believe that we’re able to make a difference here in Kent. But to do so we’ll need the support of central government - strategic and sustained investment in homelessness services and the political will to address the drastic loss of social housing.