Young homeless person up against the wall

Hidden Homelessness in Sevenoaks District

Sevenoaks District Council boasts of its financial success. This in part is achieved by dampening down demand for services such as social housing.

If you find yourself homeless in Sevenoaks and apply to the council for help you find yourself fighting your way through a maze of bureaucracy that seems designed to make an application as difficult as possible.  To make matters worse the applications can only be submitted on line, so you need the access to a computer and competence to use it.  Just to add a final hurdle the Council do not provide any assistance in completion of the documentation and advise homeless applications to “seek help from a relative or friend.”

If you manage to pass the first hurdle of the “pre-assessment” you can then start on the main application said to take just an hour to complete.

Woman sleeping in a bus shelter at Sevenoaks
Access to the Internet is difficult for many homeless people!

It therefore comes as no surprise that few of the 50 or so applications a week end up on the waiting list for social housing. This currently stands at over 900 people of whom 144 have been waiting for over 50 weeks.

The whole process is overseen by the shadowy Homelessness Review Board, which consists of only one permanent elected member.

In June 2017 a new draft West Kent Housing Strategy was being prepared jointly between Sevenoaks Council, Tonbridge and Malling and Tunbridge Wells. A consultation is supposed to be going on with stakeholders and residents but, as yet, nobody we know has seen sight of the document.

If you are having difficulty with housing issues and need some help with applications, then please get in touch with us at contact@swanleydistrictlabourparty.org

By Angela George

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