There are 1,134 people – over 10 per cent of the population – looking to be housed or rehoused on Skye, members of Highland Council’s Skye and Raasay area committee heard.
The figure was quoted during a presentation by Jim Holden, the council’s housing manager north and Jennifer Bruce, the principal housing officer for Skye and Lochalsh during last week’s meeting.
According to a breakdown of the figures obtained by the Free Press, the main areas of demand are Portree, Broadford and Kyleakin. A total of 247 households are looking for a council or housing association house in Portree, 152 in Broadford and 116 in Kyleakin.
There are 54 available properties in Kyleakin but only two re-lets between April last year and April this year. In Portree there are 427 available properties but only 18 re-lets over the period.
During Monday’s meeting, Mr Holden said the new houses in the pipeline for Skye were “absolutely needed” while local councillor John Gordon mentioned five EU citizens who had employment on the island but who were struggling to secure accommodation and who may have to leave.
Councillor John Finlayson pointed out that, of the 1,134 people on the housing register, 996 were not in social housing. This is well above the Highland average.
He added: “Skye is one of the most highly-pressured areas in Highland Council. This is partly due to a very buoyant housing market in general. Rising house prices partly driven by the increase in second/holiday homes and the holiday rental market mean that fewer people can afford to buy or privately rent.
“There are fewer properties available and the prices are higher. This means there is more pressure on the social rented / affordable housing sector.”
Councillor Finlayson added: “It is only when you become homeless or can’t get a house that you realise the pressure and stress that this puts on families. I get so many communications from people in despair and feeling so low, with some at the end of their tether.
“We need to make sure we keep addressing this key issue and keep vying for funding to come to Skye.
Article by Michael Russell.