Margate dad’s ‘horrible situation’ sofa-surfing with two young daughters

Billy says his daughters are distressed by the need to sofa-surf

A Margate dad says he is worried he cannot care for his children properly because he and his two young daughters have been sofa surfing for a month.

Billy Jordan says he and his girls, aged 5 and 6, are sleeping on sofas and floors at friends’ houses with their belongings packed into another pal’s shed.

Billy, 30, says he became homeless after a relationship split with a partner (not birth mother of the girls) and the uncertainty of where they will live is causing his girls to become increasingly distressed.

Billy’s youngest daughter is living with conditions including Pica, which is where a person will compulsively eat non-food items which can be harmful. He says she is also prone to meltdowns.

The dad says he had accepted temporary accommodation in Chatham but a doctor’s letter was also sent to Thanet council to say it was unsuitable for his youngest daughter, leading officers to understand he had rejected the offer.

He said: “We have stayed with several people around Millmead who have let me and the girls crash with them.

“I’ve not been sleeping because of the stress. I’m getting headaches and my back hurts. We are sleeping on sofas or floors. I put a blanket on the ground for the girls because they refuse to leave my side. They are terrified. They know the people we stay with but are worried that they will lose me.

“I accepted temporary accommodation in Chatham even though it would mean travelling back to Thanet every day for the girls to go to school and my youngest to go to play therapy but the email I got didn’t have an address or how to pick up keys. And then the council said I had refused it so they didn’t have an obligation to help me.

“I’m worried about my girls, they are becoming very distressed.”

Billy says the girls stay with their mum on a weekly basis but cannot stay longer than that due to circumstances beyond both their control, He is their main carer and currently a full-time dad. He has signed up with Kent Homechoice, where people can ‘bid’ on social and affordable housing,  but is unable to bid on properties because his registration still needs to be validated.

He added: “It’s a horrible situation. I don’t know what to do next. It worries me that I might not be able to care for the girls like I should.”

(Update) The girls’ mum says she has requested they stay with her and says she is in the process of contacting the relevant authorities to see what can be done in regards to court ordered arrangements. .

Thanet council’s housing team say that as long as proof of eligibility is provided, they can look at continuing to work with the family under the Relief Duty for those in need of emergency accommodation.

Housing advice charity Shelter advises people not to refuse emergency accommodation. The charity says an option could be to stay with family as the council must still:

  • look into your situation

  • help under your personal housing plan

  • decide if they must help with longer term housing

However, Shelter adds that the council might decide you’re not homeless if it’s reasonable for you to stay with family or friends in the longer term.

Demands on emergency accommodation

The number of households in emergency accommodation in Thanet has almost doubled in the past year.

Some 542 individuals or families were placed in emergency accommodation in 2021/22, up from 273 the previous financial year.

Figures also show that currently more than 200 households in the district are in temporary accommodation – meaning they would likely be homeless otherwise.

Thanet District Council has more than 600 active ‘homelessness cases’, which includes those who are currently homeless, at risk of homelessness and being supported by rough sleeping services, or awaiting a council decision on whether to house them.

Kent County Council has also announced plans to axe its £5 million Homelessness Connect service in 2024.

The decision was branded “devastating” by local homelessness charity Porchlight, which is part of the Kent Homelessness Connect scheme.

TDC recently projected an overspend of £880,000 just on temporary accommodation needs, on top of an additional £400,000 this financial year allocated to deal with homelessness and fund related services.

In early October the local authority was awarded £3.8 million from the government to help rough sleepers over the next three years.

Currently 51 units of accommodation are provided by Kent Homelessness Connect in Thanet, but could be lost as the scheme ends.

Get advice

Shelter England

Citizens Advice

Thanet council Housing Team 01843 577277

This article is not comment on the relationship status or parenting abilities of the adults involved, it is about accommodation needs for the children and how that needs to be resolved.


    • This isn’t about Billy looking after his girls it’s about a relationship break up and him not having anywhere to live.he can look after them .and he goes out now and again . Do people begrudge him of having a break now and again.

      • With all the thousands of houses going up around here it’s disgusting that there are people in temporary accommodation & homelessness. We need council houses built. It’s out of reach for many to get a deposit to buy house. None are so called affordable especially if you are single, or single with children. We have gone back in time over 70 years!!

    • Mate u must be mistaken I wish I could go out every Friday night be lucky to get out once a month but before u start jumping to conclusions maybe u should find the full story I don’t have to explain myself to anyone bit if u want to step in my shoes good luck p.s got read about pika and try to live with it and let me no if u deserve a break once in a while

      • Maybe billy you should have priorities, I for one don’t go out becyi can’t afford to I need to use my money to keep a roof over my childrens head, and as for looking after your girl with a condition well don’t I have a little boy with autism and he needs 24 hour care and I still manage to work and look after my son. You’re just full of excuse

        • Look buddy if u want to talk message me if ur hear to just criticize me for things u don’t understand that’s cool to jump to the back of the line with everyone else who doesn’t know the full story by the way autism is on the same spectrum as pika I’m sure u already néw that caring for a child with autism is difficult but once u add pika to that mix it becomes a hole lot harder and I have worked all my life the last year and half I haven’t but if ur worried I am goin bk to work asap

    • What a judgemental and defamatory thing to say. Aren’t his girls with the mother at the weekend. In any event your vindictive opinion does not help this family, particularly the two young girls who desperately need the security of their own home, regular schooling etc. What are you doing to support others in you family?

      • Other in my family I have an autistic child the requires 24 care I work out a roof over my head and I don’t have the funds to go out like sundowners or anywhere as my blood sweat and tears goes into looking after them, so my comment is fully valid thank you very much……

  1. Bring back social housing now! Before Thatcher sold it off, the old the young like this, the disabled, were catered for in purpose built accommodation perfectly happily, as far as I remember. Social services were ample, and stories like this didn’t exist! Its just one more failed Tory experiment, along with the failed privatizing of state run public utilities, Brexit, make your own list!

    • I grew up on a social housing estate. There are both good and bad. The easy life of such low rent and security breeds a real laziness with which kids have to look up to. I think its more important to tackle landlords who don’t look after properties and more protection against hiking rents and house prices.

      Also its always easy to blame everything around us, but we need to learn to take control of our own lives or end in situations like this

  2. It’s always someone else’s fault. .
    What can’t this guy look at renting privately for himself and the kids.
    There is help available for deposits etc.
    Yes I agree with a previous comment regarding “sundowners” too.
    You can’t expect local authorities to rub the gennies lamp and out pops a house or flat.

    • The irony of someone posting what you post and claiming “it’s always someone else’s fault” – much like the scamming comment section, ordinary folk making villains out of each other whilst the rich get richer.

      Perhaps don’t blame the most vulnerable in society – even if they add to their own issues – look at how society lets 5% keep 90% of the wealth.

      It’s bonkers so many of you seem happy with that system.

      Spoilers – you will never be in that 5% no matter how many boots you lick.

  3. Says he’s been offered housing but medway an turned down, why not take if your that desperate surley your girls health should come 1st I’d move anywhere if my kids didn’t have beds as u say not like he’s got a job an he’s grounded here

  4. Not sure I can buy him having an e-mail, but no way of contacting anybody. Even if there was some error he could have just gone in the council offices & talked to somebody.

  5. Wasteman springs to mind.

    Get off your arse and get a job and set an example to your children about working and providing for your family. Stop blaming everyone else and coming up with excuses about why it is everyone else’s fault.

    Even the people who are letting you and your kids crash on there sofas will run out of patients eventually.

  6. Nice to see that good old-fashioned compassion and humanity are alive and well…
    It’s so easy to make flippant comments like ‘get a job’ etc. Not so easy to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
    I hope the situation gets resolved for Billy and his daughters.

    • I agree with you Bee. Billy won’t be able to get a job until he has a permanent address. From the sound of it, it wasn’t his fault he lost the temp accommodation, lack of communication. I sincerely hope that he has somewhere before Christmas.

  7. Yes, we do not know the full story or circumstances.
    Having read the story a couple of times as put forward in this news article my first thought was to comment “there’s something not right here”.
    Having read Josh Vaughan’s comment, above, about being down Sundowners, my thinking remains the same – ‘something doesn’t add up here.’
    Whatever, those two girls MUST be looked after as a priority.

  8. Ok . Billy is an unpaid carer to one of his daughters .there is more to this but its not for me to say the girls are 5 and 6. Billy has full custody of his girls . I’m sure he’s allowed a break now and again. And he goes out when the mother has them . He dosnt go out every weekend. He’s had jobs in the past the most recent at sainsbury’s. But at the moment he cant work.And I’m not sure what this has to do with him getting accommodation.

    • All parents are unpaid carers to their children. That’s how it works.

      Nobody is entitled to a break. That’s not how it works.

      Your first priority is a roof over your head, closely followed by food on the table and clothes on your back.

      Others have mentioned the (apparently regular) visits to Sundowners. Nobody has mentioned the dyed hair, the designer clothes and the piercings. Surely this is all money, time and effort that should be spent on securing proper accommodation.

      He has decided to father two children. At that point life changes. Responsibilities and priorities are turned on their head.

      And if you don’t have a good job providing a good income then you have to pull your horns in, cut your cloth according to your means, and tighten your belt.

      • John,

        It doesn’t have to work like that. It doesn’t have to be that most of society doesn’t get a break, it doesn’t have to be that we all devoid our lives of all joy whilst the rich get richer. We could aspire to a society where people smile and have fun and we work together, helping each other. Enjoying our time here on Earth. I know it sounds crazy but we really could. We don’t need the pulled down the vulnerable and make villains of them.

        Have a sit down and a cup of tea and think about empathy and compassion they are some amazing ideas and concepts that would help you.


      • As Billy’s mum . His piercings I paid for for his birthday 5 years ago. His clothes are gifts Christmas. Birthday. All parents deserve a night out now and again. Everyone deserves a break and usually I meet up with him I buy him a drink . But u know what why am I explaining myself to u this is about him getting accommodation. Getting a job is the easy part . But when u have a child with pica it becomes hard to get childcare as that would mean staff that are specially qualified to look after her .then that’s more money because it would be a more 1-1

    • Cant work.. wont work…

      Never been out of gainful employment in 40 years, thru at least two recessions.
      Massive vacancies at the employees market. Take your pick.
      or claim on !

      • Lucky you joris bonson

        I personally believe that there isnt a huge amount of jobs out there it’s a miff.

        I know of at least 4 people of different age groups who have been looking for a different job for ages. They have got nothing, there arent lots of jobs.

        As for always being in work lucky you I know people who had worked at the same place for decades before being made redundant. It took us years to get a real job again.

        Some of these comments on here are a disgrace.

          • Joris bonson

            I dont believe those figures.

            I applied for a job I was more than qualified to do. Didnt get an interview, yet that ‘job’ kept appearing in my emails from indeed for over 6 months easily, 3 or 4 times a week.

            It was a simple job cutting grass, hedges picking up litter etc.

            The same with my mates we see the same jobs week in week out. Seems abut odd to me

  9. Stop being wicked you lot who make wicked comments want to be grateful you are not in his situation and remember the saying “ but for the grace of god go I” if it’s good enough for illegal immigrants to given accommodation then it’s only right that this man and his daughters should also be given accommodation NOT in Chatham but in this area so the girls can go to their schools. Why should he be subjected to the humiliation of having to appear in the media to highlight his and his INNOCENT children’s situation when the council and social services bods sit behind their desks thinking they are important when it is blatantly obvious how incompetent they are.

    • Bill I was in agreement with you up until you had a dig at Social Services and housing professionals!
      Thee are 600 homeless people men women and children all of whom are in similar people situations a further 200 FAMILIES are in temporary accommodation. There is a huge shortfall of accommodation financially viable ot not in the area. Many families and individuals are considered not eligible for emergency helps so the numbers do not reflect the actual situation or that they are deemed to have made themselves homeless.
      Why do you think these services are incompetent – and not overwhelmed trapped in political sabotage and red tape?

  10. I spent 20 years working in Homlessness and most of the comments here are wrong or just plain stupid. There is clearly more in this story than is published. However I can say..with very significant experience of working for and agains Local Authority Homeless team for various authorities. . The TA will be awful accommodation for children to be in. The council will go out of its way to not have to help (I know because I have done the job). Social Services will be borderline useless.
    The charity and the girls schools will be their best advocate.
    Because they have young children they will have no choice to put them in to TA, but the long term solution will be assistance in to rented accommodation.
    Unless you have used current homeless services you really have no idea how it works. The legal priority is with the girls, who don’t have a choice , so maybe some compassion?
    P.s. I know we have to get immigrant into any conversation on here, but I can tell you that they have no greater priority and have not done for decades. If you worked to house people from abroad, as I have done, you would know this. If you really want to know look up homeless legislation as that tells you what makes someone a priority….rant over.

  11. Think it must have been a decision made by a computer to temp house them in chatham, if it was a human being. Please consider different employment.
    They can be housed in a local airbnb type place, many close for the winter and tdc/kcc etc can negotiate a special deal. Allow them 3 months accomodation, it gives Billy time to sort out their next step forward.

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