Maidstone Greens call for urgent action to address rapidly rising poverty and homelessness in the Borough, which has seen an eightfold rise rise in homelessness in three years, the highest in Kent. New statistics show that 637 local households have lost an average of £900 a year due to the bedroom tax, homelessness has risen eight fold locally with Maidstone being hit hardest in Kent, there has been a threefold rise in the use of food banks nationally and use has doubled in Kent in the past 12 months.
Members of Maidstone Green Party will be sleeping rough on Thursday 5th Dec to raise money for the Winter Shelter run by the local churches.
Stuart Jeffery, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald: "There is a real poverty crisis in Maidstone that the council is failing to address. With 637 households that were already on low incomes taking a £900 a year hit on their income, it is no wonder that homelessness and the need for food banks are soaring.
"Whilst we understand that all local authorities are facing difficulties due to coalition cuts, the council should be focussing all its efforts on protecting the most vulnerable. Sadly, it is clearly failing. We are therefore calling on the council to take urgent, concerted action to address the unfolding crisis in the borough.
"The council needs to properly fund services for the homeless and for those needing food. It must start insulating homes for free across the borough, it must concentrate new home development on small properties, close to the town centre, it must provide proper financial support for those hit by the bedroom tax and it must call on Golding Homes not to evict families in arrears due to the bedroom tax."
See table 6: 2008 to 2010 average = 24.6; 2012 had 192 households accepted as homeless and in priority need.