Homelessness and Housing Options Statistics

A National and Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scottish Local Authorities received 17,797 applications for homelessness assistance during the six months April to September 2017, 2% higher compared to the same period during 2016. However when looking over the whole of the last 12 months, there has been a smaller 0.3% (118 applications) annual increase from 34,746 applications in the 12 months to end September 2016 to 34,864 applications in the 12 months to end September 2017.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the following two publications:

  • Homelessness in Scotland: Bi-annual update 1 April to 30 September 2017
  • Housing Options (PREVENT1) Statistics in Scotland: Update to 30 September 2017

Homelessness applications
Homelessness applications

Comparing the latest six month period of April to September 2017 with the same period in 2016, there has been no substantive change in the number of homelessness assessments made by local authorities (17,733 assessments in April to September 2017, compared to 17,713 in April to September 2016). Of the 17,733 assessments made in the 6 month period April to September 2017, there were 14,607 (82%) homeless or threatened with homelessness assessments. 

There were 10,895 cases closed between April and September 2017 that were assessed as unintentionally homeless with whom contact was maintained to duty discharge.  Around four out of five of these households (8,815 households or 81%) secured settled accommodation, that is, predominantly permanent accommodation from social or private rented tenancies.  This proportion of households securing settled accommodation has been at a roughly constant level of around four out of five in each quarterly period over the last decade.

Overall, there were 10,899 households in temporary accommodation as at 30 September 2017 – an increase of 139 households (+1%) compared with one year earlier.  Almost one-third (31%) included children or a pregnant member of the household - the same percentage as one year earlier. There were 6,581 children in temporary accommodation on 30 September 2017, an increase of 594 (+10%) compared to 30 September 2016.

As at 30 September 2017, 34 households were in unsuitable temporary accommodation, with 12 breaches of The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014 (i.e. where the household was in unsuitable accommodation for more than 14 days).

With respect to Housing Options, local authorities received 23,335 approaches during April to September 2017, a reduction of 3,555 (-13%) compared to the same six months in 2016.  The most common activities undertaken were providing general housing/tenancy advice and informing households of their rights under the homelessness legislation. 

For approaches closed during the period of 1 April to 30 September 2017, 41% went on to make a homelessness application, 22% remained in their current accommodation and 14% found alternative accommodation. 22% had an unknown outcome or contact was lost. There is considerable variation in the mix of outcomes by Local Authority area, reflecting the locally developed nature of Housing Options policies.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


The full statistical publication is available online. 

The Homelessness in Scotland publication is a National Statistics publication which  provides information on homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes in the period 1 April to 30 September 2017. It also provides snapshot data on households in temporary accommodation on 30 September 2017 together with data on the implementation of The Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014.

The Housing Options (PREVENT1) Statistics in Scotland publication gives an overview of key trends and features of Housing Options work in Scotland over the period 1 April  to 30 September 2017.  These statistics are being published as experimental statistics in order to involve users and stakeholders in their development and as a means to build in quality at an early stage. These official statistics have not yet been assessed by the UK Statistics Authority and have therefore not been designated as National Statistics at this stage.

Housing Options has been described as: “a process which starts with housing advice when someone approaches a local authority with a housing problem.  This means looking at an individual’s options and choices in the widest sense. This approach features early intervention and explores all possible tenure options, including council housing, housing associations and the private rented sector. The advice can also cover personal circumstances which may not necessarily be housing related, such as debt advice, mediation and mental health issues”.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland is available online. 

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