THE search for empty homes in the New Forest is being stepped up by the district council in a bid to help homeless people.

The 'Decent Homes for All' campaign is being launched by the council as authority housing chief Peter Greenfield pointed out that many homeless families were living in cramped bed and breakfast accommodation.

Appealing for people with empty properties to contact the council's empty property officer Billy Hughes on 023 8028 5577, he said: "These properties could provide a vital solution to the problem and I urge people who can help to come forward."