THE number of homelessness applications received by South Lakeland District Council has almost trebled in the past year.

SLDC says the figure has risen from 61 to 167, prompting the authority to reach out to the homeless and those who are worried about the possibility of losing their homes.

For the next six months, SLDC will trial new outreach sessions in Windermere and Ulverston to get help and advice to those affected.

Cllr Jonathan Brook, portfolio holder for housing and innovation, said: “You could be forgiven for thinking homelessness isn’t a problem here in South Lakeland. However, the truth is the number of people needing help to keep a roof over their head is rising and we expect it to continue increasing.

“With around 3,100 households currently on the waiting list for social housing, high private sector rents and many landlords reluctant to offer tenancies to people on benefits, the situation is getting worse.”

The council’s Housing Options team says there are some big challenges to overcome and the new monthly sessions should help target more people in need.

Alan Davis, SLDC’s housing options manager, said: “Over the past year ,760 local people have contacted us for housing-related advice at our Kendal-based council offices.

“Their problems included unsuitable accommodation, issues with a landlord or tenancy, breakdown of a relationship and difficulties paying the rent or mortgage. Clearly these are issues which don’t just come from the Kendal area. This is a large district and we need to make our service more accessible for the wider community.”

The outreach sessions will be held every month from Friday, January 12 at the Ulverston Town Council offices next to the Coronation Hall and from Friday, January 26 at Windermere Library.

It is hoped that the service provided in Ulverston and Windermere will become a permanent one.

For more information please contact Housing Options on 01539 793199 or email: