Affordable homes for local people in Kent
The rural housing crisis has no prejudice; it targets people of all ages. Gordon, an 83-year-old-man from Kent, experienced a sequence of housing challenges which led him to face homelessness at an age when stability should have been guaranteed.
He lived happily in a local guest house until his landlord fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic and unable to manage the property, he was forced to close it down. Following this traumatic time, Gordon felt like he had ‘won the lottery’ when English Rural announced their affordable housing development right in his community. Gordon’s new home offered more than just a roof over his head. It rekindled his long-lost passion for gardening, providing him with a green space to call his own. It was a sanctuary that resonated deeply with his rural roots, providing serenity and peace amidst the backdrop of the beautiful Kent countryside.
With this newfound stability, Gordon reconnected with his local community by participating in events, quiz nights, and taking leisurely walks along bridle paths. He was able to live and belong, as opposed to simply existing, which even improved his health and wellbeing. Affordable housing does more than just help those that reside in them. It has a cascading effect across the rural community leading to sustainability in their economies.
When people move into homes they can afford, in places where they want to live, they invest in those communities. The local shops see more customers, the pubs fill up during the evenings, the schools maintain enough pupils to stay open, and village halls become centres for community activities. Moreover, affordable housing fosters social cohesion. When people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds live together, creates a vibrant and well-integrated community.
Affordable rural housing is not a standalone issue; it’s an essential element in a complex ecosystem that involves social well-being, economic vitality, and even environmental sustainability. Therefore, it must be prioritised for the future of any rural village or town. Having a stable and safe affordable home gives people a sanctuary, in which they can live surrounded by community, comfort, and care. For Gordon, this was ‘everything he ever wanted’.