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APPEAL: Help the River Medway homeless pleads Labour's Paul Harper

Wednesday 14th August 2019

A COMMUNITY under canvas brings the extent of the homeless crisis to Maidstone’s door, says Fant councillor Paul Harper.

Downs Mail visited the sodden site that has been home to seven people from Eastern Europe since July. The tents are among brambles between the railway line and the river near Bower Lane.

Cllr Harper (pictured) said: “These are dreadful conditions for anyone to live in. We are supposed to be the sixth-richest nation in the world and yet we have people sleeping rough like this.”

He says the national house-building push must include more homes for council tenants.

MBC says it has found accommodation for three individuals, who used their EU Treaty Rights to access benefits. Those remaining are using its day centre to wash. A spokesman added: “MBC staff are visiting them daily – providing bin sacks and water. Unfortunately, until the remaining four have the necessary paperwork they are unable to claim housing benefits, so accommodation options are very limited. We continue to liaise with the immigration service to try to resolve the situation.”