More than 170 children in Dartford will be without a home this Christmas, according to figures released by a homeless charity.

Shelter's latest report reveals that 171 kids will be in temporary homes over the festive season.

This also shows Dartford as having the fourth highest number of homeless children in Kent.

Their report also highlights a shocking 235 per cent increase in the amount of homeless children in Dartford compared to from 2013.

Dartford Labour leader Jonathon Hawkes described the figures as "shocking," and is "not a figure that anyone should take lightly,"

"This is a direct result of eight years of austerity," he said.

Councillor Hawkes went on to claim that there are a number of things which could be attributed to these findings including the rolling out of universal credit, the lack of affordable homes being built, and people being evicted "too easily."

"We need to be really clear about how this has happened. These figures haven’t happened by accident," he said.

However, a spokesman for the council has said that a large number of children staying in temporary accommodation in Dartford are not their responsibility as they have been relocated to the area through non-council arrangements. 

These arrangements include children living in single hostel spaces; placements made by other districts and boroughs; and those who were placed through children's services under the Children Act.

"We can confirm there are currently 97 children in the 70 families we are housing in TA. 80 of these children (and their families) are placed in TA in the borough and 17 outside.

"...all of those that do fall under our remit are housed in self-contained properties that are effectively no different to any private rental property," he said.

Responding to this, Councillor Hawkes called the lack of comment from Cabinet members "disappointing" and that said that "quibbling about the figures will not help a single child without a home this Christmas."

In November, this newspaper reported that over 12,000 three-day-food parcels were handed out to south-east Londoners over a six month period this year, according to figures released by the Trussell Trust foodbank network.

Chief Executive of the trust, Emma Revies, also blamed the poor rollout of universal credit payments for increasing poverty levels in the area.

Shelter's Director, Greg Beales has expressed serious concern over these increasing figures, saying that "no child should be homeless."

"The increasing number of children hidden away in hostels and BnBs is enough to make anyone’s heart sink. These are not places for children.

"We hear about cold, damp – even rats. Young children are sharing beds with multiple family members, trying to play in dirty public corridors, and having to leave their block in the middle of the night to use the bathroom," he said.

He also says that immediate action is needed to "make sure every child has somewhere they can call home."