Enough long term vacant homes in Kent to house all of the statutory homeless in 2021

The number of long term vacant properties has fallen across nine out of the twelve districts in Kent according to the latest data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

Sevenoaks and Thanet have see the largest falls, while Ashford & Folkestone & Hythe have seen the largest increases, according to data released by the DLUHC.

As at March 2021,  6,204 dwellings in Kent have been vacant for 6 months or more. The number has decreased by 9% in Kent over the previous year (594 less long-term empty dwellings) whereas nationally they decreased by 20%.

Long-term vacant dwellings account for 35% of all the vacant dwellings in Kent (17,840 @Mar 2021)and 0.9% of the total dwelling stock (687,130 @Mar 2021).

During the financial year 2020/21, ten local authorities in Kent assessed a total of 6,935 households under the statutory homelessness duty (figures for Dartford and Tunbridge Wells were unavailable for 2021), according to the DLUHC.  Of these 6,102 households were owed a duty, meaning there were enough long term vacant properties to house every statutory homeless household in Kent in 2021.

These long term vacant homes could of housed those owed a duty, but alas that didn’t happen, instead district councils had to pay for expensive temporary accommodation, which impacts on their lives, adults and children alike.

In the 21st Century, homelessness, really should be a thing of the past.

The Shepway Vox Team

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