Spotlight on Skye housing issues at local Committee
A report to the Skye and Raasay Committee yesterday (Monday 4 June) focussed on the local housing issues and looked at the Council’s performance against a number of national indicators from April 2017 to March 2018 and members had the chance to discuss plans underway to create much needed new homes.
The average response time for emergency repairs to council houses continues to be within the Highland target of 14 hours. Members were advised that although there had been a slight increase in response times since last quarter, an additional two Maintenance Technicians have recently been appointed so the time taken is carry out emergency repairs is expected to improve in future. Statistics for non-emergency repairs show an improvement over the last year with response times now below the Highland target.
Local Council housing staff have put a lot of work into cutting the time taken to re-let void properties and the figures for tenancy management shows the average re-let time has improved from 27 days in quarter 4 2016/17 to 15 days in the same period for 2017/18 – well below the Highland average of 40 days.
Housing provision and homelessness continues to be a pressure in Skye and although there has been a drop in homeless presentations during Quarter 4 of 2017/2018, members were advised that the general trend is upward. Most recent figures show that on average homeless applicants in Skye and Lochalsh are likely to spend 6 months in temporary accommodation.
Area housing staff are working closely with the Council’s Housing Development team to provide long term solutions to this problem.
Chair of the Committee, Councillor John Gordon said: “The Council continues to identify Skye as a priority area for new affordable housing supply. Within our current Strategic Housing Investment Plan we have a programme to build 329 new affordable homes in the area by 2021, 313 of these homes will be for social rent.
“We are currently expecting to complete the construction of 50 new affordable homes in 2018/19 and will start on site with another 80 new homes built by both the Council and Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association to meet the demand for social housing in our area.”
“We operate a common housing register and have strong partnership arrangements with the association which means that the new build programme helps us address homelessness pressure.”
Lachie MacDonald, the Chief Executive of Lochalsh & Skye Housing Association confirmed that excellent partnership working arrangements exist between the Association and the Council and that the Scottish Government have confirmed their support for the proposed development programme.