MORE than 500 affordable homes were built across North Yorkshire last year.

An annual report by the North Yorkshire Strategic Housing Partnership has shown that the county saw an additional 536 properties created in 2013, 73 of which were in rural locations.

Its Homelessness Service provided advice for 5,800 households and 2,678 households were helped to prevent its occupants becoming homeless during 2012 / 2013. It also managed to reduce the use of temporary bed and breakfast accommodation.

Richard Foster, chair of Local Government North Yorkshire and York Housing Board, which leads the partnership, said: “The landscape for the development of new affordable housing is changing, with grant rates reducing and greater uncertainty in the sector.

“We have also begun to deal with the impacts of welfare reform on our communities, housing providers and housing stock and continue to work to minimise this wherever possible.”

The partnership has also set out its priorities for housing in the county until 2015, which will include enabling more affordable homes to be built, maintaining and improving existing housing stock, reducing homelessness and improving access to housing services.

The priorities are part of the partnership’s updated housing and homelessness strategy. It says its revised vision will be to; “make North Yorkshire and York an inclusive place where communities are sustainable and residents can have fair access to decent affordable homes and effective support when they need it”.