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‘I need a home to help care for dad’– daughter's plea for a house swap in Inverness

By Louise Glen

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Catherine Lesslie.
Catherine Lesslie.

A woman who is desperate to live near her family in Hilton has been told to put her name on a housing swap list.

Catherine Lesslie (51), who lives in rural Perthshire, needs to be in Inverness to help with care for her ageing parents.

But after approaching Highland Council to be added to the housing list she was given just 50 points, which means she will be waiting for “decades” for a new home.

Ms Lesslie, who lives in a bungalow in Blairgowrie, said: “I do not know what the council are doing with all the housing they are building in Inverness. There are houses being built everywhere. But there do not appear to be any that are suitable for me.”

Ms Lesslie, who spent most of lockdown in Inverness helping to care for her parents when it was impossible to get carers in, said she has looked at private rents, and even considered moving into a single room just to be closer to her ageing parents.

But because she often needs to use a wheelchair due to her own health problems she has not been able to find anything suitable.

She said: “My dad is from Inverness, he was born in Tomnahurich Street, and he and mum are getting older now and need support from me. He is living with dementia and his life is becoming more difficult.

“I am coming up from Blairgowrie and caring for them at the moment, and it means I need to sleep on a fold-down bed in the living room.

“I was told to put my home on one of these council house swap schemes on social media. But in spite of interest in my home people don’t seem to want to swap.”

She continued: “There is housing round the corner on Old Edinburgh Road that the council say has been allocated, but it has been empty for more than a year.

“I have also been told that there are council houses that are now being rented out on Airbnb.”

A council spokesman said: “Highland operates a Highland Housing Register with the council and the main housing associations in the area. It is a needs-based allocation policy which seeks to prioritise housing allocations for those clients with the greatest housing need. Applicants are encouraged to request a housing options interview with the housing teams which will provide them with advice about their housing options.

“Any properties owned by the council are re-let as quickly as we can so they can be tenanted. Any allegations of council house tenancies being used as Airbnb or for other means outwith the tenancy agreement will be investigated.”

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