THE number of rough sleepers across Cherwell district has declined – but its council is shelling out more on providing bed spaces in Oxford.

The council said it counted just nine rough sleepers during a street count in November 2017, down from 21 people two years before.

But Oxford City Council has previously said many of the homeless people from Cherwell have moved there to sleep rough.

The city council said that it found 61 rough sleepers in November 2017 during its street count, which take place once a year and are reported nationally.

Cherwell council said that it is now paying for 25 beds for people from its district staying in Oxford until 2020.

In a report by the council’s housing manager Jo Barrett, as well as its team leader for housing strategy and partnership Gillian Spencer, they said: “Our contribution ensures that until March 2020, people with a local connection to Cherwell have access to 11 complex needs beds, with 24 hour per day support, based in Oxford, at O’Hanlon House, and 13 beds within our district for people with lower support needs.”

Other figures from the district council showed that nearly 700 households presented themselves as homeless last year – another decline from recent years.

The council said the number of households has declined from a high of 1,011 in 2015/16 and fell to just 685 last year.

About a fifth of those were accepted as homeless by the council – and about 75 per cent of those were women and their children in lone parent families.

The council said many homeless people were suffering difficulties primarily as a result of three issues.

They included relationship breakdowns or family and friends being unable or unwilling to accommodate them in their homes.

The end of an assured shorthold tenancy was the third critical reason.

In the report in Cherwell council’s document, which will be discussed at the executive meeting next Monday, it is stated: “Access to private rented sector housing is an important option but market rents are high making it difficult for low income households and people on welfare benefits to access.”