This week's figures show that Maidstone has the 19th highest rate of rough sleepers in the country out of 326 local authorities. I find this shocking and it should be a sobering wake up call for the council who must take immediate action but won't. Maidstone Homeless Care have issued a warning that things are getting worse too. The article points out that "Homeless applications in Maidstone soared by 84 to 630 in the five years to April 2016, but the number of affordable homes built in 2015-16 was at its lowest level for 24 years." Well done to the KM for their campaigning.
There is a real lack of local and national government funding for short term shelters in the town. Organisations such as Porchlight, the Maidstone Day Centre and the Maidstone Churches Winter Shelter do excellent work but this is work that the council should be doing rather than relying on charities. Clearly the Lib Dem council is failing along with the austerity politics of the Tories and Lib Dems - they should be ashamed of themselves.
The council’s focus on building executive homes on the periphery of the town must be reversed too. The need is for affordable homes near to where the jobs, shops and public transport links are.
With my local Green colleagues I will continue to campaign tirelessly to reduce homelessness but it is time that the council took some real action too. Sadly it is not the marginalised, oppressed people in society that get to elect our politicians, rather it tends to be older wealthy middle classes who turn out to vote.