SOUTH Lakeland is seeing ‘higher levels’ of rough sleeping compared with Barrow, according to a council report.

Westmorland and Furness Council has published a draft report titled Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2024-2029 which said in the former district borough of South Lakeland there are ‘persistent difficulties’ in accessing affordable accommodation.

In South Lakeland there were 55 households in interim accommodation in the third quarter of 2023/24, in comparison to 12 in both Barrow and Eden.

The report states: “Maintaining tenancies and accessing settled accommodation in Westmorland and Furness has become increasingly difficult due to the current economic and housing climate. Pressures on household finances are increasing due to the lasting impact of welfare reform, a sustained period of austerity and a reduced housing supply.

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“There are not enough homes available to buy or rent for people on moderate/low incomes. The shortage of socially rented and supported accommodation has increased the reliance on private rented dwellings.

“The private rented sector is becoming harder to access due to increased rents, landlords leaving the sector and other pressures such as the demand for supported housing via the exempt housing benefit regulations and government resettlement programmes.”

According to the report there are six rough sleepers in Westmorland and Furness, with four in the South Lakeland area. These figures only include those sleeping rough on a single night between October 1 and November 30 and do not include those in hostels or sofa surfing.

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The report also sets out that the council has a series of short, medium and long-term targets relating to preventing homelessness, supporting people experiencing homelessness as well as those at risk of rough sleeping.

Members of the communities and environment scrutiny committee will discuss the report on Tuesday February 6 when they meet at Kendal Town Hall.