News Homeless problems ‘growing’

MAIDSTONE'S major and growing problems in housing homeless people have been faced by the borough’s communities, housing and environment committee.

This follows a “dramatic” annual growth in approaches to the coun- cil – 654 in 2017/18, 1,214 in 2018/19, 1,327 in 2019/20 and 856 in 2020/21 (to December 16). Many, mostly from outside Maidstone, are fleeing domestic abuse. This has led to a greater demand

for longer-term accommodation – both affordable housing through the council’s housing register and in the private rented sector, through its Homefinder Service. An officer report to the commit-

tee indicated: “The pool of afford- able units in Maidstone is shrinking as new-build cannot keep pace with demand. We find it considerably more difficult to place the growing number of house- holds in our district boundaries.” The borough council is “compet-

ing for both temporary and longer- term accommodation with other districts and boroughs, including unitary London authorities, who have far more generous budgets and funding streams than Maid- stone. One London authority (Bromley) has placed 189 house- holds from its area in Maidstone.” This has led Maidstone to con-

Court hears of stabbing

AN AYLESFORD teenager is ac- cused of stabbing a man in his 30s in Maidstone. David Abraham (19) of Ingram

Close, Aylesford, is alleged to have seriously assaulted a man in Mill Lane at about 11.30am on November 23. The victim had suf- fered an injury consistent with a stab wound and was taken to hos- pital where he is in a stable con- dition. Mr Abraham was charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing a bladed weapon in a public place. He appeared at Medway Magis-

trates’ Court and was remanded. A 19-year-old woman from Maid- stone was bailed to a later date. Investigators are appealing for anybody who witnessed the inci- dent to contact the appeal line on 01622 604100, quoting crime refer- ence 46/209073/20. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or using the anonymous online form.

sider how it allocates its resources, based on household composition, community contribution including work and volunteering, and social and welfare needs. The committee approved a new placement policy, based on house- hold priorities involving needs and affordability, to offer the most ap- propriate accommodation. It states: “In offering accommo-

dation we will consider a number of factors to ensure suitability and will be transparent with applicants about the rationale. “If the applicant refuses the offer

and cannot provide further evi- dence it would be unsuitable, we will discharge our duty and no longer be under a duty to secure accommodation for the applicant. “An ongoing duty to provide ad-

vice and assistance continues and this may include access to the Housing Register and assistance with obtaining private rented ac- commodation.” In the last two years, the borough

has placed 147 households in longer-term private rented accom- modation, including 30 outside Maidstone district.

Staff outside Lily Smith House, which aims to provide terminally-ill homeless people with palliative care

Palliative care for the sick

HEART of Kent Hospice has launched a new homelessness project which will see staff at Lily Smith House, in Knightrider Street, Maidstone work with customers with a terminal illness. The scheme has been secured through funding from Thomas Deane

Trust. Jackie Pritchard, clinical educator for Heart of Kent Hospice, said: “It’s important to us that we are inclusive, and our services are accessible to everyone who needs us. “We know that some people who have been affected by homelessness

can face severe health problems and early deaths.” Penny Miller, service manager for Lily Smith House said: “By working with

Heart of Kent Hospice, we can now help people affected by homelessness in Maidstone who are seriously ill to be cared for here at the end of their lives, if that is their wish.” Heart of Kent Hospice hopes the project will help more people who are likely to die within a year, to receive the appropriate palliative care.

TV mummy

MAIDSTONE Museum’s mummy was featured in a Channel 5 docu- mentary on December 7. Egypt’s Great Mummies, filmed

over a year ago, focused on the museum’s scanning, academic re- search and identification of a fully wrapped mummy presumed to be that of a hawk. The show was presented by his- torian Bettany Hughes. Collections manager Samantha

Man ‘hit by supercar’

A MAN has been arrested after a pedestrian was hit by a car in Maidstone. The incident happened in Sutton Road, near the junction with Horseshoes Lane, at around 2pm on January 10. The pedestrian was treated for injuries and the road re-opened at around 5.20pm. A Kent Police spokesman said: “Officers and South East Coast Ambulance Service attended and the pedestrian was treated for injuries. “The road was closed while emergency services were at the scene and re-opened at around 5.20pm. “The driver, a 60-year-old man from Gravesend, was arrested

on suspicion of dangerous driving and was later released pend- ing further investigation.”

Harris said: “This highlights the amazing artefacts we have in Maidstone.”

Pet rehoming

ANIMAL charity the RSPCA will continue to rehome rescued ani- mals, despite the lockdown. Dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and

other small animals will remain available for adoption via a virtual rehoming and delivery process. Prospective adopters can speak

to RSPCA staff and meet animals via video conferencing and photo sharing. Pets will be delivered by an RSPCA staff member once the rehoming has been approved.


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