Kent is facing housing chaos and it will be worse elsewhere. Across the county housing waiting lists will shoot up from their already record high level following the introduction of further housing benefits changes yesterday and the latest intention to end subletting.
Last year the social housing waiting list in Maidstone rose to 3,442 – a record level and 4.5 times higher than in 1997 and the research by the Chartered Institute of Housing suggests that between 1,000 and 2,500 people across the borough will lose out through the housing benefit changes, potentially increasing the social housing waiting list by a further 50%.
Across Kent and Medway, the social housing waiting list grew to 45,102 in 2011, more than doubling since 1997. 20,000 people are being affected by the housing benefits changes in the county and probably 80,000 across the region.
And while not wanting to condone the practice of subletting, plans to make it a criminal offence for the estimated 160,000 people who do this across the country will also potentially mean that a further 160,000 need to find accommodation, adding to the housing crisis. To end the subletting practice they need to have a plan for the people who they will make homeless.