THE number of homeless applications in Helensburgh and Lomond fell in 2018/19 – but the area still has the highest homelessness rate in Argyll and Bute.

The local council received 135 applications from people to be declared homeless in the 12 months to April –down from 178 in 2017/18.

However, that number remains the highest in the overall council area, with Cowal closest to it with 104 – an increase of 22 on last year.

Only seven cases of rough sleeping were reported in Helensburgh and Lomond last year, but it is the second highest figure in the four administrative areas of Argyll and Bute.

The total for the council’s overall area was 30.

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Members of Argyll and Bute Council’s Helensburgh and Lomond area committee considered the figures at their last meeting of 2019.

The report, compiled by Kintyre and the Islands councillor Robin Currie, said: “Cardross and Rhu have the greatest relative pressure ratios, at six applicants per every available let.

“Cardross is particularly pressured for one-bedroom properties (9:0) while Rhu exhibits pressures mainly for one bedroom properties (5:0) and three beds (5:1).

“Helensburgh is moderately unbalanced across all property sizes, with two or three applicants for every let of most sizes.

“Luss has little or no turnover in one-bedroom properties (5:0 last year). Rosneath is generally balanced, however there may be an under supply of three beds (4:0 last year).

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“During 2018/19, there were 131 homeless cases closed in Helensburgh and Lomond.

“The incidence of homelessness has fluctuated in recent years in this area, increasing by 31 per cent in 2017/18 and then falling by 20 per cent in 2018/19, but still remains slightly above the 2016/17 baseline.

“Helensburgh and Lomond experienced a relatively low incidence of rough sleeping last year, with only seven cases in total across the area.

“This amounted to 23 per cent of the Argyll and Bute total. Nevertheless, this is an increase on previous years – four cases in 2016/17 and five in 2017/18.”

The main reasons for homelessness in 2018/19 were being asked to leave, a dispute with the household, a relationship breakdown or other actions by a landlord.

Other reasons given included harassment, overcrowding, and violent or abusive disputes with the household.

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