Who are Faversham’s “Hidden Homeless”?

By Harold Goodwin, Faversham Community Land Trust


We occasionally see young people sleeping in doorways in town, and there are no more than a handful living in the woods around Faversham. These are the visibly, partially hidden, homeless. Their housing needs are important too, and focusing on the hidden homeless in no way denies the importance of addressing the needs of the rough sleepers and van dwellers. They are part of our community too.

Living and sleeping rough in Faversham in 2021

The hidden homeless are largely invisible in Faversham. The town centre looks prosperous; there are only a few, very few, places where people living in the more deprived areas on the periphery of Faversham can buy a tea or coffee or eat out. Faversham is more economically divided than when I moved here 40 years ago. The map produced by the Consumer Data Research Centre shows that we have large parts of our population living on meagre incomes. There are many living in multi-generational overcrowded homes. Married couples have temporarily separated and are back living with their respective parents saving to get a house and start a family in their forties. We know of people living in garden sheds in Faversham. Young people generally find it harder to leave home and begin to live independently; they are trapped living with their parents, unable to leave.

Map showing relative incomes in Faversham

With a grant from Swale, the Faversham Community Land Trust commissioned a survey from arc4, an expert housing consultancy. They reported in August 2020 that “Faversham needs a significant additional supply of affordable housing to meet the requirements of its existing households and households that are likely to form from existing residents over the next 5-years. arc4’survey estimated 211 couch surfers in Faversham in 2020. arc4 concluded that “1 and 2- bedroom affordable rented houses flats and bungalows are needed which is consistent with the needs of an ageing population and a large number of new households that are expected to form. A smaller number of 3 and 4-bedroom family homes are needed and should be prioritised as they are likely to release smaller houses and flats for occupation by newly forming households.” arc4 identified Faversham’s hidden homelessness – there are people living in Faversham without a home of their own; they are registered with our GPs and dentists, with children in school, to build more homes for them will not increase the pressure on our infrastructure.



Above: Living and sleeping rough in Faversham in 2021. Below: .