Highland Housing Register Policy continues to prioritise those in greatest housing need

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).

9 Nov 2023