Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019 – equalities breakdown

This bulletin provides information about homelessness in Scotland, with a focus on the equalities characteristics of homeless applicants.

Main Points


  • During 2018/19, 45% of homelessness applications came from single male households and 76% of main applicants were of White Scottish ethnicity.
  • From 2008/09 to 2018/19 there has been a 57% reduction in homelessness applications from under 25’s, including a 68% reduction in applications from 16-17 year olds,  compared to a reduction of 37% in all homelessness applications.
  • Single males make up a large proportion of homless applicants who have previously slept rough. During 2018/19, 74% of those who slept rough in the 3 months before making their homelessness application were single males and 78% of those who slept rough the night before making their homelessness application were single males. 
  • For female main applicants, the most common reason for making a homelessness application is a violent or abusive dispute within the household, this accounts for 22% of all applications from female main applicants and compares to 5% of applications from male main applicants. 


  • Older applicants were less likely to be repeat applicants, with 1.5% of those aged 65 or over assessed as repeat applicants compared to to 5.8% for all assessments.
  • Single female households were most likely to be assessed as having a support need (57%), with a mental health problem identified in 31% of cases. Couples with children were the least likely to have a support need identified, with just a third of this household type having at least one support need. 
  • 58% of applicants age 16-17 were assessed as having a support need, of which ‘basic housing management / independent living skills’ was the most common (44% of assessments).
  • Support needs were more likely to be identified for applicants of White Scottish (51%), White British (52%) and Not known or refused (55%) ethnicity, than for other ethnic groups.

Temporary accommodation

  • Households where the main applicant is of African, Caribbean or Black, Mixed or multiple ethnic groups are more likely to have more than one placement in temporary accommodation (65%, 65% and 64% respectively) compared to 41% of all households that exited temporary accommodation, although these households account for only a small proportion of temporary accommodation placements. 
  • Households where the main applicant was aged 65 or over had the shortest average length of time spent in temporary accommodation of 150 days (approximately 5 months). The average stay across all households was 180 days (approximately 6 months).
  • Of the 3,540 HL3 applications that were not offered temporary accommodation during 2018/19, the majority (65%) were single male applicants, with a further 12% being single female applicants. 18% of those ‘not offered’ temporary accommodation were households types including children[1].
  • Three quarters of placements where a breach of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order occurred had a female main applicant, with over half (56%) of all breaches in 2018/19 affecting female single parent households[2].


  • The proportion of applicants securing settled accommodation increases with age, with 59% of main applicants assessed as unintentionally homeless aged 16-17 securing settled accommodation, compared to 78% of those aged 65 and over. 
  • Carribean or Black households are most likely to secure settled accommodation (81% of cases), while the figure for Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British was just 69%. 
  • An outcome of lost contact is most common for single males, with 19% of those assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness losing contact, or having an unknown outcome. This compares with 13% for single female households.


Email: homelessness_statistics_inbox@gov.scot

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