Report into Cookham Wood young Offenders Institution near Rochester
Kent Homelessnes Warning
A Kent homeless charity is warning the county is facing a homelessness crisis on a deeply concerning scale.
Porchlight, which provides supported accommodation, homeless prevention and outreach services, says it has seen a 40% increase in people asking for its help over the last year.
Its rough sleeper service has seen a 93% rise in referrals, while Porchlight's 24 hour helpline is also seeing unprecedented demand, receiving an average of 771 calls a month - even more shocking considering that the Canterbury Samaritans reported an average of just 476 in 2010.
The crisis facing Kent echoes the national picture with government data showing that 26,400 people approached their local council for housing help in the first three months of 2011, a rise of 23% compared with the same period last year.
Less than half of these applications were successful resulting in growing numbers of "hidden" homeless – people forced to squat or sleep on friends' sofas after not qualifying for statutory help.
Gill Bryant, Porchlight’s Head of Operations said: “When people are vulnerable and need help they shouldn’t have doors shut in their face and be forced into squats and other unsuitable accommodation.
"It’s the final stage before living in the street. Help needs to be there before it
gets that far.”
The charity says that the forthcoming changes to Housing Benefit and the introduction of the Localism Bill are going to put even more pressure on its services as people struggle to cope and spending cuts start to bite. Porchlight is particularly concerned about Kent Supporting
An 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Leonne Weeks, 16, who was found dead on a path in Rotherham.
Hopes to recruit 200 trainee drivers to reduce disruption caused by overtime bans
Police investigating reports of drug dealing in Thanet have recovered a taser, knuckleduster and kitchen knife.
Recently Played Tracks
Deposit £10 to get a £40 Welcome Bonus - That's £50 to play bingo, slots and more!*
Over 50 tracks to make you feel-good. New album out now...
Find your local four day weather report here.
What's happening on the roads where you are?
Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.
Find out more about some of the companies advertising on Heart.
Get some great ideas on how to advertise your business on radio, online and on mobile.