A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.
An annual update on Homelessness Statistics covering 2022-23 has been released by Scotland’s Chief Statistician.
Findings for that period show:
- There were 39,006 applications for homelessness assistance – an increase of 3,247 (9%) compared with 2021-22, and higher than pre-pandemic (37,053 in 2019-20).
- There were 32,242 households assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness – an increase of 2,903 (10%) compared to 2021-22, also higher than pre-pandemic (31,618 in 2019-20).
- There were 15,039 households in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2023 – a 6% increase compared with 14,214 at 31 March 2022. This compares to 11,807 at 31 March 2020.
- The number of children in temporary accommodation has increased to 9,595 in March 2023 from 8,805 in March 2022 (9%). This compares to 7,355 at 31 March 2020.
- Households becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy have been reacting to legislation changes. There was a low of 3,049 in 2020-21, following emergency COVID-19 legislation (11% of all homeless households). Since this was lifted in May 2021, numbers have been increasing, reaching 2,990 across the first six months of 2022-23 alone (19% of all homeless households). However, the cost of living legislation introduced in October 2022 to protect renters resulted in a drop to 2,200 for the second six months of 2022-23 (13% of all homeless households).
- There has been an increase in rough sleeping, with 2,438 households reporting rough sleeping during the previous three months and 1,500 the night before the application. These remain lower than pre-pandemic and are the same proportions of all applications as the previous year (6% and 4% respectively).
- Homelessness applications that closed in 2022-23 which used temporary accommodation spent 223 days in temporary accommodation on average. This increased from 214 days in 2021-22 and 175 days in 2017-18, when the time series started.
- There were 445 instances of households not being offered temporary accommodation. This is a decrease of 38% compared to 2021-22. Almost all of these (420) were in Edinburgh.
- 83% of households assessed as unintentionally homeless secured settled accommodation in 2022-23, increasing from 82% in 2021-22.
- The average length of time to close a homelessness case has been increasing over time and reached an average of 266 days in 2022-23. This compares to 262 days in 2021-22 and 226 in 2019-20.
- Of the 32,242 homeless households: 62% of applicants were aged 25 to 49; 66% were single person households; 85% of applicants were of White ethnicity; and 51% of applicants had at least one support need.
- There were 275 applications nationally which reported being from a Ukrainian displaced household, this accounts for 0.7% of the total.
The full statistical publication is available on our website.
The Homelessness in Scotland: 2022-23 publication presents information on local authority homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes in the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, 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.
Prior to 2020, there had been little change in the trends in homelessness since 2013-14. However, these were inevitably disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in larger than usual changes between years, as well as shifts in the direction of trends in some cases. The previous six-monthly update indicated a return of some of these trends to be more in line with what was experienced pre-pandemic. For that reason, the publication focuses on comparisons with 2019-20 as well as 2021-22.
Trends appear to be returning to, or towards, pre-pandemic levels. COVID-19 impacted homelessness in the following ways: reported decreases in applications due to stay at home guidelines and extended eviction notice periods; cases remaining open for longer due to a limited ability to move households into permanent accommodation due to lack of supply and ability to conduct repairs or viewings; greater use of temporary accommodation from existing applicants who had previously turned down an offer but who then required it. Local authorities have reported the ongoing effects of COVID-19, in particular, high levels of backlogs due to the increased use of temporary accommodation during the pandemic. These were further exacerbated, particularly over 2021-22, by a shortage of tradespeople and building materials, as well as the increased cost of materials to turn around empty properties. The most recent year is reported to also be affected by the cost of living crisis.
To be able to quantify how many Ukrainian displaced people (UDP) are presenting as homeless, new response categories were added into the HL1 data collection. Local authorities were asked to provide information backdated to June 2022 and included for the first time in this publication.
Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland is on the Scottish Government website.
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