Highlands & Islands

Rise in homelessness on Isle of Skye

Skye Bridge Image copyright Getty Images

An increase in tourists visiting Skye is a factor behind a shortfall in the availability of homes for islanders, Highland councillors have heard.

The number of families categorised as homeless has more than doubled over the last 12 months from 15 in 2016 to 32.

Private accommodation previously available on long-term leases is now being offered as holiday lets.

Skye councillor Calum MacLeod said tourism had brought opportunities but also challenges.

A report to Highland Council's Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee on Monday said homeless families were having to spend longer in temporary accommodation before being offered a home.

Council officers said on average the time spent in temporary housing had increased from about 20 weeks to more than 27 weeks since 2015/16.

After the meeting. Mr MacLeod told BBC Alba: "We are lucky in some respects on Skye in that we are experiencing an increase in tourism, which is wonderful - it brings lots of opportunities, but challenges at the same time.

"One of the challenges is that with the increase in tourism a lot of private landlords are now seeing the opportunity to go to the commercial sector."

He said there was not enough "back up" accommodation left to offer homeless families.