Landlords with vacant accommodation are being urgently sought to house Syrian refugees heading for the Highlands this winter.
The council reaffirmed yesterday that the region would welcome “up to 30 families – about 100 refugees” from the war-torn country as part of the UK refugee resettlement programme.
They are expected to reach the Highlands early in the new year.
A council working group has been established involving its officers, NHS Highland, Police Scotland, the Department for Work and Pensions and the voluntary sector.
A representative has also attended briefings with the local authorities’ organisation Cosla as part of a coordinated Scottish response.
A council spokeswoman said house owners wishing to register an available property for consideration should visit the authority’s website.
Council leader Margaret Davidson said: “We’re keen to hear from people who have property available and could assist us in housing refugees when they arrive in the Highlands.
“Ideally, we’re interested in property that is available for longer term rentals.
“We will have to match up available housing with other essential services, so we might not be able to use every property offered. But we would be pleased to hear from you. We will provide more detailed information and advice to people who register their properties on our website.”
The precise timing of refugee arrivals in the north will be guided by the UK Government.
Inverness SNP councillor and former soldier Allan Duffy told yesterday’s full council meeting in Inverness that Prime Minister David Cameron had “taken on board” his suggestion, in a letter, that redundant military barracks around the UK be made available for refugee use for educational purposes.
“The key thing is we must not take our eyes away from the people already on our housing allocation that are waiting to be homed as well,” he said.
Fellow city councillor Ken MacLeod, a descendant of a family that suffered as a result of the Highland Clearances, was among several members promising a warm reception for the displaced Syrians.
“A lot of the refugees are people from a rural environment and, my goodness, have we got a rural environment that could do with an injection in the Highlands,” he said.