Homeless families are being moved into empty properties at Townhill Park following a "dramatic rise" in the number of people seeking help.

Homes at Meggeson Avenue are being filled for a "short period" ahead of the next phase of regeneration work. 

Properties that were previously cleared out are being let out to families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The council says it doesn't expect this temporary arrangement to impact on services. 

A council statement said: "As we have a statutory duty to support homeless households with children, bringing the homes back into use is the most appropriate and cost-effective way to provide these families with a safe place to stay."

READ MORE: Townhill Park regeneration Southampton: Plans for homes win support

The announcement was made as the authority revealed plans to end homelessness in the city, an issue which is "significantly higher" in Southampton than the UK average. 

Cllr Lorna Fielker, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Housing, said the council has analysed data to understand the current needs and come up with "an action plan that help us move towards ending homelessness in Southampton".

A consultation has been launched on the authority's new Draft Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy which sets out the aims for the next five years. 

In it, the council says it wants to deliver the right housing solutions for people, ensure they receive the right support, address underlying factors that lead to homelessness and end the need to rough sleep.

Daily Echo: Councillor Lorna Fielker.Councillor Lorna Fielker. (Image: Chris Moorhouse)

Cllr Fielka added: "Our commitments are centred around people, not labels, and via this consultation, will be informed by the experiences of the people who find themselves without a place to call home.

"The strategy shows that we have a lot of work to do, and all while facing the same funding and budget challenges as many local authorities, but I am confident that together, we can address the issue effectively."

In Townhill Park, the council has now approved the decommissioning of the blocks in Kingsdown Way and is reviewing the closure of plot six on Meggeson Avenue and the former pub site. 

At plot five on Behams Road, the two blocks facing the road are now empty and are due to be demolished.

A planning application is expected to be submitted for plots two, nine and ten of the regeneration plan in late autumn.