A count of rough sleepers carried out by homelessness charity Porchlight across the 2017/18 financial year found 122 people on the streets in Thanet.
Of those 29 were women and one rough sleeper was just 18. In all Porchlight say there were 834 people across Kent who were homeless in that 12 month period – and they are just the people who were visible to be counted.
The figures shocked students at Hartsdown Academy in Margate so much that they have spent the night sleeping out in a bid to raise money to help Porchlight carry out more of its vital work.
The charity works in many different areas including providing accommodation and outreach staff who go out in the mornings to look for people and give them guidance. The unfunded services cost in excess of £900,000 per year to operate.
The students, including some from Year 10, slept out on March 29 on the school tennis courts and were allowed cardboard, blankets and sleeping bags but no tents.
They were joined by head teacher Matt Tate Paul Luxmoore – the Executive Headteacher of the Coastal Academies trust – and other Hartsdown staff.
Academy outreach director Mandy Simmons said: “The evening was a great success and the students and staff tucked up in their sleeping bags slept through the night, raising nearly £1,700 for Porchlight.
“We received sponsorship from Pizza Hut who provided large pizzas so the students could eat something hot before settling down for the night and McDonalds who provided us with free breakfasts Saturday morning. Sainsbury’s and McDonalds also provided the cardboard that the students slept on.
The Kent and south east homelessness charity helps vulnerable and isolated people get support with their mental health, housing, education and employment. They provide children, young people and adults with the advice, guidance and skills to live independently in the future, play an active role in their local community and fulfil their potential.
If you are concerned about someone who is rough sleeping you can notify streetlink at www.streetlink.org.uk
Call 24 hour free Porchlight phone helpline 0800 567 7699 or from a mobile on 0300 365 7699.
Wednesday 9.30am-12pm Margate Gateway
Tuesday 2pm-4pm GAP Baptist Church, Broadstairs
For more information on the project, how to donate or volunteer, visit: www.thanet.gov.uk/roughsleeping