Homelessness in Scotland: 2022-23

This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness in Scotland in the period from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023, alongside historical data.


Key points in 2022-23

  • the number of homelessness cases closed decreased despite the increase in the number of homelessness applications
  • 83% of unintentionally homeless households secured settled accommodation, increasing from 82% in 2021-22
  • 4% of households were re-assessed as homeless within one year of previous assessment, a decreased from 5% in 2021-22 and now the lowest in the time series

Homelessness cases are closed once the local authority has fulfilled its statutory duty or contact has been lost with the applicant household for 28 days. Local authorities provide information on the circumstances and outcomes of homelessness cases once they have been closed.

Number of cases closed

Overall, 28,354 cases were closed in 2022-23, a decrease of 1% compared to 2021-22. This decrease is in contrast to the increase in applications, which helps explain the increase in open homelessness cases.

How often do local authorities lose contact with applicants?

For households with homelessness cases that closed in 2022-23, contact was maintained for 92% of those assessed as unintentionally homeless and for 88% assessed as intentionally homeless.

The proportion of households maintaining contact has increased over time for unintentionally homeless households, from 81% in 2007-08. For intentionally homeless households, the proportion has remained more stable, particularly in recent years where this has been between 85 and 88% since 2013-14.

What are the outcomes for homeless households?

Of the 25,265 unintentionally homelessness cases that closed in 2022-23 (where contact was maintained and the outcome was known), 83% (20,860) secured settled accommodation.

Settled accommodation is defined as a local authority tenancy, a tenancy with a registered social landlord or a private rented tenancy.

Registered social landlord proportions remain above pre-pandemic, while private rented tenancy proportions decrease

Chart 16: Outcomes for households assessed as unintentionally homeless where contact was maintained, 2019-20 to 2022-23

Bar chart showing the outcomes for unintentionally homeless households in the last four years

A small number of councils noted that the reduction in private rented tenancies is a result of these being a less affordable option and a reduction in availability/increased demand.

The proportion of unintentionally homeless households securing settled accommodation has increased over time, from 64% in 2002-03 to 83% in 2022-23.

Intentionally homeless households are less likely to secure settled accommodation due to there being no statutory duty to provide settled accommodation for these households. In 2022-23, 37% of intentionally homeless households secured settled accommodation. This is the lowest since 2003-04 and likely reflects the lack of available settled accommodation within local authorities. To note, these are based on relatively small numbers (which have decreased as a result of changes in intentionality legislation) and are therefore particularly susceptible to natural fluctuation.

Is there a return to homelessness?

In order to understand the longer-term outcomes for homeless households, and whether outcomes upon case closure are sustained, there is interest in ‘repeat homelessness’. This is defined as households previously assessed as homeless re-entering the homelessness system at a later point in time.

Households reassessed as homeless as a proportion of all homeless households have shown a decreasing trend since 2014-15

Chart 17: Households assessed as homeless that have previously been assessed as homeless in the last one to five years: 2007-08 to 2022-23

Line chart showing the longer term trend in proportion of homeless households that have been previously assessed as homeless in the last one, two, three, four or five years

There were 1,284 households (4%) that had previously been assessed as homeless in the 12 months prior to their most recent assessments and 3,910 (12%) in the previous 5 years. Note that these are cumulative.

There is significant variation between local authorities with respect to repeat homelessness. For example, 8% of homeless households in Glasgow had previously been assessed as homeless in the 12 months prior to their assessment. This is compared to 0% in East Dunbartonshire and Shetland, though caution should be applied when looking at findings based on relatively small numbers.

Were housing support assessments carried out?

Upon closing a homelessness case, local authorities are required to assess whether any housing support services are required by the household for any cases assessed as unintentionally homeless and where it has reason to believe that support would be beneficial. It also has a duty to provide that support if needed.

Across Scotland, assessments for housing support needs were carried out in 77% of cases where there was a duty to assess in 2022-23. In 22% of cases where there was a duty to assess, no assessment took place, and no support was provided. Housing support was provided in 39% of all cases. Support was not provided for 7% of cases where a support need was identified.



Back to top