Homelessness statistics

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

The annual update on homelessness statistics covering 2019-20 has been released by Scotland’s Chief Statistician. Findings for that period show:

  • There were 36,855 applications for homelessness assistance. This was an increase of 84 (0%) compared with the 36,771 applications made in 2018/19.
  • There were 31,333 households assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness. This is an increase of 1,097 (4%) compared to 30,236 in 2018/19.
  • These households contained 51,365 people, including 35,654 adults and 15,711 children.
  • There were 11,665 households in temporary accommodation at 31st March 2020, an increase of 676 (6%) compared to 10,989 at 31st March 2019.
  • There were 7,280 children in temporary accommodation at 31st March 2020, an increase of 485 (7%) compared to 6,795 at 31st March 2019.
  • Homelessness applications that closed in 2019/20 that used temporary accommodation spent 184 days in temporary accommodation on average.
  • There were 4,595 cases of homeless households not being offered temporary accommodation in 2019/20. 3,835 of these were in Glasgow.
  • There were 500 breaches of the unsuitable accommodation order in 2019/20, compared to 645 in 2018/19. 375 of these were in Edinburgh.
  • Of homelessness cases that closed in 2019/20, 82% (20,806 out of 27,002) of homeless households secured settled accommodation in 2019/20, increasing from 63% in 2002/03. Other outcomes included ‘Other’ (8%), ‘Returned to previous/present accommodation’ (5%), ‘Moved in with friends/relatives’ (5%) and ‘Hostel’ (1%).


The full statistical publication is available on the Scottish Government website.

The Homelessness in Scotland: 2019 to 2020 publication presents information on local authority homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes in the period from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, and places it in the context of longer term trends. It also provides data on the number of households in temporary accommodation throughout the same period.

Given the figures in this publication report data up until 31st March 2020 this only crosses over with around a week of coronavirus restrictions and changes in practices being in place. Therefore, changes in trends in homeless data as result of coronavirus will be extremely minimal over this reporting period. Some summary information for homeless applications and the use of temporary accommodation during the coronavirus period has been collected by both the Scottish Housing Regulator and by the Scottish Government. These collections are released as management information, and are not Official or National statistics.

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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