Homelessness in Scotland statistics: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

Please tell me how many homeless people are in Scotland and how many are in temporary accommodation.


The Scottish Government collects data from local authorities that are gathered in the course of processing homelessness applications through the HL1 data collection.

Snapshot aggregate information on the use of temporary accommodation as at the end of the quarter is also collected through the HL2 data collection. Individual temporary accommodation placements related to homelessness applications are collected through the HL3 data collection.

A limitation of the data collected by Scottish Government is that it only relates to households that engage with their local authority. For this reason the Scottish Government statistics do not necessarily cover the entire homeless population in Scotland. The Scottish Government publishes information on key aspects of homelessness including applications, assessments, use of temporary accommodation and outcomes twice a year.The biannual publication provides an indication of homelessness trends based on 6-months’ data and the annual publication provides a whole-year picture with a fuller set of results and breakdowns available. All publications are available via the Homelessness Statistics webpage.

Information on the number of people associated with applications that have been assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness is available in the latest annual Homelessness In Scotland publication, which includes data up to 2020/21.This can be found in Table 13 of the Excel file: 'Main Tables (June 2021)'. Breakdowns are available for number of adults and children at Tables 14 and 15, respectively. These figures are based on HL1 data. Snapshot data on the number of children in temporary accommodation is also gathered as at the end of the quarter. The latest available data is for 30 September 2021 and can be found in Table 16 of the Excel file: 'Homelessness in Scotland: update to 30 September 2021 - Tables'. These figures are based on HL2 data.

The number of adults within temporary accommodation is not gathered via the HL2 collection. However, the number of adults associated with homelessness applications is captured through the HL1 data collection.Therefore, by linking records between the HL1 and HL3 collections, an estimate of the number of adults within temporary accommodation placements can be obtained. For temporary accommodation placements that were open as at 30th September 2021, there were an estimated 15,485 adults associated with these across Scotland.
It is important to note:

  • this assumes that all adults associated with a homelessness application are present in the associated temporary accommodation placement(s).
  • The HL2 and HL3 30th September figures are not an exact match and therefore it is not necessarily the case that all the 15,485 adults are associated with the same households and/or temporary accommodation placements as the 7,510 children as at 30th September 2021.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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