Ending homelessness together: annual report 2022

This annual report sets out the progress made in the last 12 months by national government, local government and third sector partners towards ending homelessness in Scotland.

Progress against actions to embed a person-centred approach

For many people, the solution to their homelessness is straightforward: an affordable home. Some households have dependent children; some will have a health condition or disability; for others, homelessness can be interwoven with poverty, childhood trauma and abuse, violence, substance use and mental ill health. This means the solutions we provide must be as diverse as people’s needs and preferences, and flexible enough to meet evolving requirements.

We hear regularly from people with lived and frontline experience of homelessness that trauma-informed and person-centred approaches are most effective. We continue to develop the evidence base on homelessness improving the quality and accuracy of our homelessness data collection processes., which includes listening to real-life stories from people who have experienced homelessness and we are committed to

  • The Scottish Government created a new post within the homelessness statistics and analysis team in June 2022 to take forward the review of our homelessness data collections. The review will consider gaps in the homelessness evidence base and assess the feasibility of collecting enhanced information on equalities. This will help us assess the effectiveness of our policies and interventions for particular groups, and will guide local and national government on funding decisions and service design and delivery.
  • We have invited bids for research into housing insecurity and hidden homelessness to better understand those people who do not appear in Scotland’s official figures.
  • Scottish Government officials are currently collaborating with colleagues in the Office for National Statistics, who are investigating novel methods of capturing information on a UK-wide basis about hidden homeless groups. This work will complement the Scottish Government-commissioned research.

We continue to apply a gendered analysis to our actions and conduct equality impact assessments, ensuring the homelessness system meets the needs of diverse groups of women.

  • To show local authorities that equality impact assessments (EQIAs) are an essential tool in addressing women’s homelessness, a session was organised for rapid rehousing transition plan coordinators in May 2022 to guide local authorities on how to carry out and use equality impact assessments when developing or reviewing homelessness policies.
  • The Scottish Government has carried out an equality impact assessment of the proposal to mitigate the UK Government’s benefit cap more fully. In Scotland, 72 per cent of households affected by the benefit cap are single parent families, with women accounting for 92 per cent of single parents.
  • A full suite of impact assessments will be undertaken as part of the development of the new homelessness prevention legislation, including an equality impact assessment.

We said we would support the homelessness system to respond more appropriately to the shared needs of mothers and children.

We are very disappointed that the number of children in temporary accommodation has risen since last year. The Scottish Government’s latest homelessness statistics show that, while we are learning to live with the pandemic, it continues to have an impact on homelessness services. While coronavirus restrictions have eased, local authorities are still dealing with a large number of households waiting for settled accommodation. It is encouraging to see that that 20 local authorities have reduced the number of households in temporary accommodation when compared to last year, but far too many people remain in temporary accommodation.

  • A task and finish group, co-chaired by Alison Watson, director of Shelter Scotland, and John Mills, head of housing at Fife Council and chair of the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers, has been considering how we can reduce the numbers of households, especially those with children, staying long periods in temporary accommodation. The group, which reports to the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group, has delivered its initial recommendations and will refine these further in the months ahead.

The Scottish Government and COSLA remain committed to ensuring homelessness services are grounded in no wrong door and person-centred principles . This also means we need to make homelessness assessments more flexible so that anyone who needs a service can access it in a way that fits with their needs.

  • Building on the relationships developed during the pandemic, statutory services and frontline outreach teams have continued to work collaboratively so that homelessness assessments are carried out in ways that meet individual needs. Outreach hubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh provide flexible and person-centred support and have local authority housing officers embedded in teams so that support is on hand when it is needed.
  • The Scottish Government provided small budgets to frontline organisations in winter 2021-22 so that outreach teams could respond to people with the most acute housing needs in a personalised and immediate way.
  • The housing options hubs are close to completing development of a training toolkit made up of six modules covering the skills and person-centred approaches involved in delivering housing options services. The first three modules (introduction to housing options; accessing accommodation; and maintaining existing accommodation) were launched in January 2022. The second set of modules (health and wellbeing; income and affordability; and employment and training) are due to be launched in January 2023.
  • The new homelessness prevention duties, due to be introduced in the Scottish Government’s forthcoming housing bill, will be faithful to the principle of no wrong door and will promote a joined up approach across public bodies to ensure people can access the help they need irrespective of where the risk of homelessness is first identified.
  • The new service standards for temporary accommodation, due to be signed off later in 2022, are clear that services should be shaped by an assessment of the needs of all
  • members of the household. This offers local authorities flexibility to meet the needs of local communities while ensuring a level of consistency nationally.
  • Based on evaluations of the impact of homelessness prevention legislation in Wales and England, we expect Scotland’s new prevention duties to result in a more proactive and person-centred culture in local authority homelessness services.

We have supported even more people to access digital equipment, data and training.

  • Building on the success of Get Connected 100, we provided a further £160,000 for Simon Community Scotland’s Get Connected 500. The programme launched in May 2022 and will support 500 people experiencing homelessness by connecting them to the digital world. Each participant in the project will receive a free digital device (a smartphone or a tablet) and unlimited connectivity for 12 months.
  • So far, 259 devices have been supplied to people and 76 frontline workers have been trained as digital champions to support participants in the scheme.

We will continue to raise public awareness of homelessness and challenge stigma.


Email: Homelessness_External_Mail@gov.scot

Back to top