As homelessness increases in Thanet one mum describes impact of being in out of area temporary housing

Chelle and her son are sleeping in the same room while they are in temporary accommodation in Folkestone

Thanet council is facing a rapid growth in the number of people becoming homeless and predicts demand for accommodation will continue to grow due to rising rents, the cost of living crisis and courts clearing eviction notice backlogs.

For some people becoming homeless will mean being reliant on the council to provide temporary accommodation so they don’t end up sleeping rough or sofa surfing.

The council  currently has 233 households in temporary accommodation and 135 of those have had to be housed outside of the district.

The impact of being removed from your home area and local support network, as well as school and work, can be devastating.

Michelle and her son have been moved to Folkestone

Mum-of-one Michelle Lane is one of those who has had to move away from Thanet after being evicted from her home in Margate.

Michelle and her seven-year-old son have been housed in a one-bed flat in Folkestone, more than 40 miles from the youngster’s school in Birchington and Michelle’s job working with people with mental health issues.

Michelle, 40, also suffers from Crohn’s, fibromyalgia and other debilitating conditions that make travel extremely difficult.

She said: “I have lived in Thanet for over 30 years and I worked in the care industry in Thanet helping people with mental health and substance abuse.

“But I am now under the mental health crisis team and unsure if I will be able to return to my job.

Michelle says her health is being impacted with these photos showing the change

“Last year I was given notice to quit as the landlord wanted his house back. I have no support as my parents died when I was pregnant in 2014. I’m a single mum and I just can’t afford the private rents so I went to the council.

“The council want me to rent privately but I can’t get back to work and I can’t afford those rent hikes.

“They have put me in Folkestone so I am 40 miles away from any support network, I don’t know anyone here and feel like I just don’t have a life.

“They are telling me I might have to stay in Folkestone for two or three years. I followed all the processes, but I just do not know where to go from here.

“Because of the Crohn’s it is really difficult to travel at the moment, I constantly need the toilet and am really poorly. My son has been staying with my sister and dad as I don’t want him to see me like this even though he is the only thing that keeps me sane.

“The flat has a really high fence and it’s like a prison. There is damp, my son has a cough and my clothes always need washing and there is no lock on the main door. I’m not allowed to bring in furniture or have wi-fi.

“I had to sign the acceptance, I had no choice, but being expected to share a bedroom with my son is surely a breach of human rights.

“I have never been in a situation like this. I have worked in the community for 20 years, helping people manage their mental health but now I need help no-one wants to know.

“I have contacted the MP Roger Gale and email (the housing director) at Thanet council every week. I’ve asked for transport to get my son to school but after 6 weeks there still isn’t a referral.

“I know lots of people are in this situation, not just me. All these professional services are supposed to be there to support people and they are not doing that.”

Foy House Photo TDC

Thanet council recently opened a temporary accommodation site at Foy House in Margate which has eight one and two bedroom flats.

It is aiming to expand its temporary accommodation by taking on a second project with £2.22m earmarked  to buy another building or land or new build property. This project has the potential for up to 10 homes.

The council has also bought the former Oasis refuge in Edgar Road, with the final tranche of funding from the Cliftonville intervention programme (Live Margate) with the intention of converting to a further 16 homes.

The property is to be used by the RISE homelessness service until March 2025 with the housing project planned to start on site for the conversion works in April 2025.

But currently demand outstrips available temporary accommodation on the isle.

‘We understand how disruptive it can be’

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “When we have accepted a homeless application and have a duty to provide temporary accommodation, we make every effort to ensure that this is provided within Thanet.

“When this is not possible we work to arrange accommodation back in the district as soon as possible, as we understand how disruptive it can be to have to move away from the support of family, friends, schools and work.

“Temporary accommodation is provided until the household is either successful in bidding for a social rented tenancy on our housing register, or finds an alternative private sector home.

“We have a high demand for housing assistance and only a limited amount of temporary accommodation available to us. We currently have 233 households in temporary accommodation, with 135 of these outside Thanet, though we make every effort to bring local households back to the district as soon as possible.

“We currently have 1604 applicants on our housing register. Demand for accommodation is high and we anticipate that it will continue to rise in the short term due to a range of factors including the cost of living crisis, rising costs in the private rented sector, and courts clearing their backlog of eviction notices.

“We will continue to work as hard as we can to support families and individuals with housing needs in our district.”

Deputy council leader Helen Whitehead said: “Setting up in house temporary accommodation to support residents to stay in area was a priority for our administration in terms of establishing Foy House, and continues to be a priority with our plans for establishment of further in house temporary housing.

“Our promise to deliver at least a hundred homes a year at genuinely affordable rent will also help to support residents into permanent accommodation, and reduce out of area placements. If contacted I am more than happy to support Ms. Lane, and Housing do all they can to bring individuals and families back into area.”

Get advice

Shelter England

Citizens Advice

Thanet council Housing Team 01843 577277

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  1. Put them in a hotel like we do all the migrants, 686 came in yesterday, bet they are not living on the street or sofa surfing

    • How many of the 686 were asylum seekers then Masters? People like you making crass unsubstantiated statements make me ashamed to be British. Take a look at yourself, because I believe your a self loathing bully, attacking people who are escaping being killed, persecuted, raped, tortured, and imprisoned! Your a very sick person Masters, you would not last a day in the same conditions these people are escaping!

      • Yeah Dumpton – Last time I went to France I got persecuted, raped, tortured, imprisoned and killed 4 times – was glad to get back to old blighty I can tell you!

        • Your a self loathing bully who wants to make helpless people feel as bad as you are! And what does “The Central Scrutinizer” even mean? If you go to France again please stay there, you Pillock.

  2. It doesn’t help that Lambeth and Islington councils are now buying up properties in Thanet for their council home tenants. I personally think it’s disgusting that London councils can just dump their responsibilities in area that’s nearly 70 miles away. Plus the people they are moving to this area have no jobs or no way to provide for themselves adding to the thousands of jobless we are already lumbered with.

    • London boroughs have been moving people on their housing lists into rented property in thanet for years as well.
      The story is a bit odd though at one point it says the parents had died in 2014 then later says the son lives with her sister and dad.
      As ever there’s no mention of any contribution from the boys father and if any efforts are being made to get some.
      In the article about the council buying more properties , the numbers mean that they could buy 16 homes for the match funding money they are putting up formthe grant being received to home afghans and ukrainians into homes that will eventually revert to local provision. If the council wishes to see 16 families left in temporary accomodation because of this choice so be it , but at least be honest enough to say this is their decision.
      Regarding the financing , the figures suggest the council is paying about 120k per home in Spitfire way, and intends to rent them at LHA rates, the interest cost on that money at 6% will in itself be nearly all the LHA ,( assuming the homes are 2 bed) so how is the council going to cover insurance, maintenance and legislative compliance costs, cleaning , etc etc? Let alone start to repay the capital cost. Thanet has no money as it is where is the financial costing for these decisions that show that it is sustainable and not going to mean cuts have to be made in other areas or lead to calls to increase council tax? Foyhouse, Oasis purchase ( funds available ) but what of the 2025 conversion costs?, 5 million for spitfire way, 2 million for the ukranian scheme.
      Hardly insignificant sums, rather suggests that the future of the winter gardens and theatre royal is already decided and the monies raised from their sale already spent. What else is being lined up to be sold off?

      • Certainly a valuable asset, no doubt there are those within tdc who’d sell them off for housing in a flash.

  3. Technically,did she make herself ,homeless,by moving out ,I think she should have waited to the courts evicted her .As of have stated in the past emigrating people get out up in hotels ,our nothing

  4. She no unhealthier in the 2nd photo than she does in the 1st, just less glamourous thanks to the lack of peroxide, make-up and designer clothes.

  5. How awful, why can they not be put up in a hotel, if the mother is unwell it is totally unacceptable to expect her to travel this distance to school every day and what about the cost of travel.

  6. Having children outside a stable two parent family is always going to be difficult. The welfare system was not designed to be treated as a permanent parent or as a lifestyle choice, contrary to the expectations of so many young single mothers.

    • Is the father contributing,this onus on single mothers is a rather unhealthy attitude, the fathers never get mentioned and the blame is always about the mother.

  7. What are your waste of space MPs and Cllrs doing about this worsening issue, words are cheap and mean nothing without effective, rapid, action.

    • Well, we appear to have councillors who want to spend every penny possible on housing provision locally but appear to not have any costings they wish to make public, so no idea as to wether it’s finacially viable in the medium to long term.
      Our mp’s won’t intervene in local matters as its not their job ,but on a national scale are seemingly happy to have huge numbers coming into the country, are unable to ensure there is sufficient housing supply, play to the crowd in terms of anti landlord legislation, are happy to allow foreign investors to buy property that sits empty.

      We have an electorate that isn’t allowed a real say on migration , but want everything for nothing and embrace the notion of doing as little as possible for as much as possible, which won’t pay for all their wants, nations skint, has spent too much on the never never and there are tough times looming for just about all of us, as ever there will be those that suffer more.

      Tis ever was.

      • Dear Lc;

        All costings, of every project, are published within Council papers and the Council budget; it is a legal requirement to do so.

        We also have a finance department and a Section 151 Officer to determine the short, medium and long term viability of all projects; he’s exceptionally good, and very level headed.

        If you require links to the Council budget and relevant papers, I’m more than happy to provide them. I can be contacted on the email below.

        All the best,


        • Given the parlous state of TDCs finances , i could perhaps be forgiven my scepticism regarding the councils abilities in money matters. Whilst no doubt there will be protestations that the current TDC is better than that of the past , i’d suggest all previous councils have said something similar. I’d be interested in looking at the budgets and relevant documents you refer to, would you be so kind as to provide links in this thread which provide others similarly interested to see them .

  8. A lot of people make themselves appear to be homeless in the summer months nothing new happens across the country.Don’t encourage them by giving them money.

  9. So single migrant men get put in hotels with a free phone, laundry, no council tax, no gas bills, no electric bills, no water rates, no requirement to purchase a TV licence and free travel and now gym membership. But British single mother is left to struggle.

      • if they put migrants in hotels ,they are, not responsible for electricity,how would you enforce it,charge an individual,no .The complete bill is picked up by the government,ie you and me,or do you believe in the magic money tree

    • Migrants, if they have a television, are legally obliged to have a TV licence. See “full”.

      • Not if they’re in a hotel, but no one staying in a hotel pays a tv licence , so a bit of a disjointed argument by sparky. Though i get the drift.

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