HOMELESSNESS is on the increase in Huntingdonshire. The downturn in the economy - particularly the increase in unemployment, combined with the cost of mortgages and the difficulty in finding funds - is leading to more people falling into arrears. This in turn is leading to higher repossession rates and more families turning to the council for help, says Steve Plant, the district council's head of housing services. Early intervention by HDC led to a reduction in the number of households being accepted as homeless from 254 in 2004/05 to 146 in 2007/08. But the trend has reversed since April, with 91 households accepted as homeless between April and the end of September last year, 15 more than the equivalent period in 2007. HDC intervened to prevent homelessness for 138 households in 2007/08, 40 more than two years previously. In most cases families were helped into private sector tenancies through the council's help with deposits or advance rent. Mr Plant pointed to emerging problems that he expected to cause more people to seek the council's help, such as owner-occupiers facing re-possession, or private tenants facing eviction because the landlord wanted to sell the property or could no longer afford the mortgage.