Homelessness Statistics

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today published Homelessness Statistics for the period 1 April to 30 September 2020.

The findings, which will be impacted by the measures taken to protect people during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, show:

  • there were 16,997 applications for homelessness assistance. This was a decrease of 10% (1,914) compared with the same six-month period in 2019
  • there were 16,568 assessments made, with 13,645 (82%) of applicants being assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness. This was a decrease of 14% (2,215) compared with the same period in 2019
  • while the number of applications fell, there was also a reduction in the number of cases closed. As a result the number of open homelessness cases at 30 September 2020 reached 27,332, a 20% increase on the figure from 30 September 2019
  • there were 14,151 households in temporary accommodation as at 30 September 2020. This was a 24% increase on 30 September 2019
  • there was a notable decrease in households becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy: 10% of households assessed as homeless in this period gave this as their previous accommodation type, compared with 17% in the same period in 2019
  • there was an increase in the proportion of households becoming homeless from the family home (30% compared with 24%) and from living with friends or partners (22% compared with 18%)
  • compared with 2019, there were a higher proportion of applicants who were single males (50% compared with 44%), 18-24 years old (22% compared with 20%) and of White Scottish ethnicity (78% compared with 75%)
  • there was also a 99% increase in the number of households in bed and breakfast accommodation: 1,414 households (10%) were in B&B accommodation at 30 September 2020 compared with 710 (6%) in 2019
  • 9,920 cases assesses as homeless or threatened with homelessness were closed in the period April to September 2020 – a fall of 30% compared with 2019


The full statistical publication is available.

The Homelessness in Scotland: Update to 30 September 2020 publication provides an indication of trends for key aspects of homelessness including applications, assessments, use of temporary accommodation and outcomes in the period from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020, and places them in the context of longer-term trends.

This is the first official homelessness statistics release for which COVID-19 restrictions and changes in practices were in place for the full reporting period. The trends seen in this publication can largely be explained by the impact of measures taken to protect people during the pandemic. Some local authorities reported a fall in applications due to stay-at-home guidelines and a decrease in the number of evictions. Cases remained open for longer as lack of supply and inability to conduct repairs or viewings made it more difficult for local authorities  to move households in to permanent accommodation.  The use of temporary accommodation increased alongside the number of open cases and increased demand from existing applicants who had previously turned down the offer of temporary accommodation, but who now required it.

Where households housed by local authorities in response to the pandemic have a formal homelessness application to a local authority and/or have a temporary accommodation placement recorded on management information systems, they will be included in these statistics.

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


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