Traveller Lorraine Botton, 54, has been living in a tent in Quarry Road, Maidstone, for six weeks with her five children - Moses, 18, Caleb, 19, Genty, 22, Louise, 26, and 36-year-old Naomi.
But Maidstone Borough Council says it could take months before they are found accommodation - and the family are refusing to take temporary accommodation if it means they are parted from their pets.
Lorraine Botton and Naomi Barton are living in a tent in a friends garden
Miss Botton - who has bipolar disorder, epilepsy and arthritis - said: "I feel scared that someone will unzip the tent and hurt us, or even murder us.
"We need a property as soon as possible so we are safe. I just want to be able to lock my front door.
"If we don't get a house soon, we will have to squat. I've been told there might not be anything available until Christmas, and we can't wait that long. We'll freeze to death."
Cooking on a camping stove is a way of life for Naomi Barton and her family in Maidstone
She is worried her family will catch pneumonia, which has already claimed the lives of two of her children - but refuses to take temporary accommodation if it means being parted from her four dogs and three budgies.
The Bottons became homeless two years ago and were originally housed in a B&B in Hastings.
Miss Botton, who is unable to work due to her health problems and has struggled to look after her children since her husband died 14 years ago, claims she was hounded out of her last home because she was a traveller.
She added: "We had nobody to turn to so we came to Maidstone, where our family are, but we need proper accommodation.
"The tent leaks and it is cold. I have to go outside with a little cooker to make food, often in the rain. That is not right. I shouldn't have to beg people for baths or to do my washing."
At the bottom of the garden of an end-of-terrace house is where the Bottons have made their temporary home.
Mum Lorraine cooks on a makeshift oven, propping up a camping stove on an upturned bucket.
Inside the tent, which extends the width of the modest back yard, there are three compartments where the family of six live and sleep along with some of their pets.
A large tent makes a makeshift home for Lorraine Botton and Naomi Barton
A tangle of power cables run from the house and provide electricity for a reading lamp, though the fridge does not work anymore.
Instead, there is a small stack of tinned food and the family buys food daily to avoid waste.
The canvas structure is also where they store their belongings from their last home, including a TV, a tumble dryer and an ironing board – although the damp conditions mean they no longer dry their clothes.
"We need a property as soon as possible so we are safe. I just want to be able to lock my front door..." - Lorraine Botton
A small portable heater may prove to be their most prized possession.
Maidstone Borough Council spokesman Roger Adley said he could not comment on specific housing applications, but admitted there was a "limited supply" of social housing.
He said: "We have a responsibility to provide families in priority housing need with emergency accommodation, and whilst they are in temporary accommodation to assess their need.
"If we accept a family on to the housing register, it can take some time to find suitable accommodation depending on their circumstances and availability."
Last year, Maidstone Borough Council helped 530 homeless people find homes.
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