Homelessness Statistics Published

A National and Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scottish local authorities received 18,486 applications for homelessness assistance during the six months between 1 April 2018 and 30 September 2018, 2% higher than the same period during 2017.

The increase in homelessness applications follows a period of decreasing numbers of applications beginning around spring 2010. This downward trend has slowed down over the last couple of years and has levelled out since 2015. The fall in homelessness applications is likely to be due to the impact of housing options and homelessness prevention strategies adopted by most local authorities over the past few years rather than to changes in the underlying drivers of homelessness. The rate of reduction in homelessness applications has significantly slowed over most recent years, with a 1.3% increase being seen in the 12 months to 30 September 2018 compared with same period to September 2017. This suggests that, in its current form, the impact of housing options work is unlikely to lead to further large reductions in applications beyond those already seen.

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released the following publication:


Key Points, covering the Homelessness publication:

For the six-month period of 1 April to 30 September 2018:

Applications, Assessments and Outcomes
  • There were 18,486 applications for homelessness assistance, this was 2% (284 applications) higher than the same 6 month period in 2017. Looking over the whole of the last 12 months, there has been a 1.3% (460 applications) annual increase from 35,378 applications in the 12 months to end September 2017 to 35,838 applications in the 12 months to end September 2018.
  • The proportion of direct homelessness applications – that is those which don’t go through Housing Options first - has increased. 47% of all homelessness applications were direct applications, up 4 percentage points (from 43% to 47%) from April to September 2017.

 There has been a 2% increase in the number of assessments made by local authorities when comparing with the same period in 2017 (18,499 assessments were made between April to September 2018, compared to 18,153 for the same period in 2017, an increase of 346 assessments). Of the 18,499 assessments made, there were 15,247 (82%) homeless or threatened with homelessness assessments. Compared with the same period one year ago, the proportion of cases assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness is similar (at 83%).

  • Of the 11,480 unintentionally homeless households that had an outcome, around four out of five households (9,360 households or 82%) 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 over the last decade.
Temporary accommodation

As at 30 September 2018:

  • There were 10,955 households in temporary accommodation, an increase of 56 households (+ 0.5%) since last year.
  • Of these households in temporary accommodation, 3,315 had children – a decrease of 111 households (-3%) compared with one year earlier.
  • The number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 245 children (+4%), to 6,826, compared with the same date one year ago.

For the six-month period of 1 April to 30 September 2018:

  • A total of 10,475 unique households (i.e. households who entered multiple placements are counted only once) entered temporary accommodation and 10,930 exited temporary accommodation.
  • The majority of households entering and exiting temporary accommodation were single person households (68% entering and 69% exiting), while around a quarter (26% entering and 25% exiting) contained children.
  • Households spent an average of 175 days (just under six months) in temporary accommodation placements. Households with children tend to be in temporary accommodation for longer (209 days) compared to households without children (164 days).
  • Of the 10,930 households which exited temporary accommodation during April to September 2018, the majority (67%) had a total duration of 5 weeks to 12 months, this includes 2,444 households (22%) which were in temporary accommodation for 5 to 12 weeks, 2,450 households (22%) which were in temporary accommodation for 3 to 6 months and 2,471 households (22%) with a duration of 7 to 12 months. A total of 1,474 households (13%) were in temporary accommodation for a year or longer, whilst 2,092 households (19%) were in for 4 weeks or less.
  • Breaches of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation Order) (Scotland)
  • There were 345 breaches of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2014, 260 of which were in Edinburgh. Note that the number of breaches have been published according to the changes made by the Homelessness Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation Order) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2017 (implemented from 2nd October 2017).


The full statistical publication is available at: http://www.gov.scot/homelessstats

The Homelessness in Scotland: Bi-annual update 1 April to 30 September 2018 publication presents information on local authority homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes in the period from 1 April 2018 to 30 September 2018 along with information on the use of temporary accommodation both during this period and as at 30 September 2018.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/About

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