OVER £500,000 is spent every year by Barnsley Council on services specifically for homeless people in the borough.

A Freedom of Information request shows the council commits £533,897, with money being spent on 42 units of accomodation-based support for single homeless people, 17 units for young single homeless people (aged 16-24) and 14 units for homeless families.

The FOI also shows the council received £66,500 in July 2009 to be used as a repossession prevention fund to allow it to extend small interest free loans to households at risk of homelessness through repossession or eviction.

The funding can be used to help owner occupiers, social and private sector tenants and rough sleepers.

However, in the FOI response Wendy Lowder, the council's assistant executive director for neighbourhoods, access and support, said it should avoid the 'moral hazard' of providing loans to households who could have paid their mortgage, loan or rent but chose not to.

"The guidance states the process on decisions on grant assistance to households will need to be robust and seek to support those households who genuinely cannot pay their household costs through no fault of their own," she states.

The FOI also revealed the council received a further £57,000 in February 2012 and was used to support the costs of the ongoing extension of three homelessness advisor posts.