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Shelter figures show number of homeless children in Kent and Medway

One in 99 children in Medway are homeless, according to a report by national charity Shelter.

It says 682 youngsters aged under 18 in The Towns are already living in temporary accommodation such as B&Bs and hostels - making it the worst area in Kent.

In total, 2,222 children across the county are without a proper home with Shelter stating some families "squashed into one room with little space to cook, play or eat their meals, forced to share bathrooms with strangers, and their accommodation located miles away from schools, jobs, and loved ones".

Swale has the second highest number of homeless children in Kent (248), followed by Dartford (246), Dover (177), and Ashford (157).

The Generation Homeless report warns that with a lack of social housing, expensive rents, and welfare cuts, at least 440 more children in the south east region will be homeless by Christmas Day.

Ahead of the December 12 General Election, Shelter is calling on every political party to put housing at the top of its domestic agenda and is asking the public to support its urgent appeal for donations.

Polly Neate, the charity's chief executive, said: "The fact 20 children in the south east become homeless every day is a scandalous figure, and sharp reminder that political promises about tackling homelessness must be turned into real action.

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"Day in, day out we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the region.

"Many are being uprooted from their friends, while others are forced to live in cramped B&Bs and go to bed at night scared by the sound of strangers outside.

"Every child has the right to a safe home and if we act now, our frontline advisers can support more homeless families in the South East to get to a better place.

"Every donation will help Shelter to be there for everyone who need us this Christmas."

Mark Breathwick, head of strategic housing at Medway Council, said the figures showed the concerning reality of the number of families who need support.

"We are committed to helping Medway's most vulnerable residents and commission a range of accommodation so we can offer those who face homelessness somewhere to stay temporarily, in the first instance," he said.

"Day in, day out we see the devastating impact the housing emergency is having on children across the region" - Polly Neate

"We continue to support families living in temporary accommodation and offer advice to help them find somewhere permanent to live.

"We also offer a range of support and specialist advice to people who think they are at risk of becoming homeless to help prevent them from losing their home.

"We are committed to helping Medway’s most vulnerable residents and will continue to do all we can to help those at risk or who become homeless."

Anyone who is homeless, or is at risk of homelessness, in Medway is encouraged to visit Kingsley House in Gillingham to access the support available.

Last year KentOnline revealed 2,052 under 17s do not have a permanent home, up from 675 in 2013.

  • If you'd like to donate to Shelter's Christmas appeal visit www.shelter.org.uk or text SHELTER to 70030 to donate £3. Texts cost your standard network rate + £3. Shelter receives 100% of all donations.

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