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.

Reasons for homelessness and prior circumstances

Key points in 2022-23

  • the proportion of homelessness applications citing violent household disputes as the main reason have decreased and are now below pre-pandemic, however the number is still higher than pre-pandemic
  • increase in reporting of rough sleeping, although still lower than pre-pandemic

Why do households make a homelessness application?

Top three most common reasons for homelessness remain consistent

Chart 7: Main reason for making an application for homelessness, as a proportion of all applications: 2019-20 to 2022-23

Bart chart showing reasons for homelessness for the last four financial years

The reasons of asked to leave and non-violent dispute remain above pre-pandemic proportions. Although violent dispute has now fallen below pre-pandemic proportions, and is the lowest since 2016-17, there has been a numerical increase from 4,187 in 2016-17 to 4,859 in 2022-23.

Termination due to rent arrears accounted for 2% of reasons in 2022-23, which is higher than 1% in each of the previous two years. Proportions are higher in the first six months of 2022-23 than the second six, likely again due to the cost of living legislation previously mentioned. Proportions still remain below pre-pandemic (between 3 and 4%).

Some applicants (75%) also provide additional reasons for failing to maintain accommodation. The most common reason was ‘Not to do with applicant household’ (51%). Mental health reasons was the next most common (26%) and the biggest percentage point increase over the series from 10% in 2007-08. The third most common was lack of support from family and friends (20%), which has reduced from a peak of 25% in 2020-21 during the pandemic.

What are the prior circumstances of the homeless population?

As part of the application process, information is gathered on the following: where the household became homeless from; whether anyone in the household had slept rough; whether anyone in the household was former armed forces; whether anyone in the household had been previously looked after by their local authority as a child; and any existing support needs.

Return to near pre-pandemic proportions for most common property types households become homeless from

Chart 8: Property type from which the households became homeless, as a proportion of all households assesses as homeless: 2019-20 to 2022-23

Bar chart showing the type of property from which households became homeless from for the last four financial years

The patterns in this chart reflect the patterns in reasons for homelessness. This implies there is a connection between the types of property households become homeless from and the reasons for homelessness.

For example, the decreases in the proportions becoming homeless from family and friends since 2020-21 while remaining higher than pre-pandemic may relate to small decrease in reasons of asked to leave and (non-violent) household disputes.

Likewise, the return to pre-pandemic proportions for households becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy may reflect those for reasons of other actions by landlord resulting in the termination of a tenancy.

The increase in other is mainly driven by Glasgow, which is believed to be due to this being used for applicants under resettlement schemes.

Homelessness from prison is now at the lowest (proportion) since 2008-09.

Increase in reporting of rough sleeping from last year, although still lower than pre-pandemic

Chart 9: Applications where at least one member of the household experienced rough sleeping: 2002-03 to 2022-23

Line chart showing longer term trends of the proportion of applications where at least one household member experienced rough sleeping the night before or in the three months prior to the homelessness application

The proportion of households reporting rough sleeping in the previous three months and the night before making an application remains the same as last year at 6% and 4% respectively.

Falkirk, Fife and Highland had noticeable increases in the reporting of rough sleeping from the previous year. Rough sleeping in the previous three months had increased from 5 to 30 in Falkirk, 125 to 215 in Fife and 100 to 160 in Highland.  Conversely, South Lanarkshire have experienced a decrease (from 95 to 35 for the previous three months). This is believed to be due to a rough sleeping action plan introduced by the council.

There were 691 households assessed as homeless that had a household member that was previously a member of the armed forces. This accounts for 2% of all homeless households. This is a 7% increase from 2021-22, which is lower than the 10% increase in homeless households overall.

There were 1,067 homeless households that contained a household member under 25 that had been looked after by their local authority as a child. This accounts for 5% of all households with a household member under the age of 25. The increase of 10% is in line with overall homeless households.

The proportion of households reporting at least one support need was 51% - this is similar to the last few years, although a large increase from 33% in 2007-08 when data collection began. The largest increase is in mental health problems with 30% of homeless households noting this as a support need (compared to 12% in 2007-08). The proportion requiring support for basic housing management has also increased over this period from 10% to 23%.




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