Highland Housing Register Policy Continues To Prioritise Those In Greatest Housing Need
10th November 2023
Members of the Housing and Property Committee met today (Thursday 9 November 2023) and noted the annual performance review of the Highland Housing Register (HHR) Policy for 2022/2023 on housing allocations. The report demonstrates that despite significant challenges the HHR policy is achieving its objectives.
Social rented housing provides affordable homes for over 21,000 households across Highland. Compared to Scotland, Highland has 5% less social rented housing than the national average.
The report demonstrates that availability of social housing and affordable rental properties remains heavily outweighed by demand and continues to place additional pressure on many households and those who present as homeless. In 2022/23 there were a total of 8,951 ‘Housing' and ‘Transfer' list applications on the Housing Register, which is down on 2021/22 figure of 9,416, however remains approx.1,166 higher than pre-covid/cost of living crisis.
925 (47%) of the 1,962 lets in social housing throughout 2022/23 went to households with points which reflected their homeless status and reflects a 11% increase in homelessness presentations in Highland in 2022/23.
In areas where there is a greater demand for housing, homeless points play a more significant role in leading to a let. For example, over 50% of all lets were to homeless households in Inverness (64.8%), Nairn (63%), Skye & Lochalsh (54.1%), Badenoch and Strathspey (52.2%) and Mid-Ross (51.1%).
The continuing need for smaller sized properties is clear. Half of all HHR applicants are single people and 10% are couples, although these figures vary across Highland.
Housing and Property Committee Chair. Cllr Glynis Campbell Sinclair said: "Social housing and affordable housing is a key priority in the Council’s Programme and efforts to increase the supply continues as part of the Local Housing Strategy 2023-2028 approved at this Committee on 27 April 2023.
"The Council has committed to the delivery of an average of 660 new affordable homes per annum of which approximately 70% will be for affordable rent and 30% for intermediate affordable housing (low-cost home ownership or mid-market rent), in line with the overall Scottish Government targets.
“Demand to remain, live, work and thrive in the Highlands is high and we must continue to work collaboratively with our HHR partners to do all we can to improve the availability of housing stock across the Highlands, particularly in those high demands areas."
The full report can be accessed here (Item 11). https://www.highland.gov.uk/meetings/meeting/4876/housing_and_property_committee
Highland Council continues to explore external funding opportunities to help families in the region who experience disproportionately higher levels of fuel poverty than the rest of Scotland. External funding is targeted at households classed as fuel and extreme fuel poor and is available Highland-wide.
The Highland Council is inviting applications from groups and organisations to the ‘Communities and Place' strand of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). £1 million of funding is available for capital and revenue projects, that will empower communities to build on their own strengths, support local needs, and deliver on the fund's main objective of ‘building pride in place and increasing life chances'.
A strategy which proposes a two-stage approach towards the development of vibrant community hubs in partnership with High Life Highland and sportscotland was agreed at the Council's Education Committee. The report set out the principles for investment over the long-term and the next steps to develop individual plans for each of the Council's 29 associated school group (ASG) areas.
The Highland Council are inviting all tenants to have their say on the rent levels for the year ahead. We encourage everyone that lives in a council house to take this chance to have their say, the results of this will have a direct impact on the services we are able to deliver next year and in the future.
Suppliers working in the wedding market are being invited by Highland Registrars to a newly established Wedding Fair. The Highland Wedding Fair will take place on Sunday 4 February 2024 with public access from 11.00am - 3.00pm (suppliers will have access from 8:30am).
The Highland Council has announced the timetable to make a final attempt to reform the 30 Community Council elections that failed to form in September 2023. Community Councils are voluntary organisations that express the views and concerns of local people within their area across a wide range of issues from new buildings and roads to local services and facilities.
For the first time, The Highland Council's Employability Service is offering Paid Third Sector Placements to unemployed Highland residents. Funded by the Scottish Government through the No One Left Behind policy, this initiative proposes 6-month paid work experience placements hosted by charities and non-for-profit organisations.
Highland Council's Playpark Strategy and Action Plan for 2023-2033 was agreed and adopted by members of the Communities and Place Committee on 29 November 2023. Resource - The service has limited revenue budget for maintenance of £176,900 for all sites.
It was announced on Friday 1 December 2023 that Workhaus Projects has been awarded the contract to carry out the interpretation for the interior of the Inverness Castle Experience. Workhaus Projects will combine creativity, design, technology and craftsmanship to create a world-class visitor experience within the transformed castle building, bringing the vision of content designers Mather & Co to fruition.
Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth has announced £900,000 in new funding for staff to tackle poor behaviour and attendance in schools. The funding will be provided directly to local authorities to train support staff to respond to new challenges and develop behaviour management strategies in schools post COVID.