Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019

Information on local authority homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes along with information on the use of temporary accommodation.

This document is part of a collection

Main Points


  • Applications rose by 892 (3%) to 36,465 in 2018/19. This is the second year applications have risen following a period of consistent decline since 2005/06.
  • The number of applicants who experienced rough sleeping at least once during the last 3 months before their application increased by 201 (8%) to 2,876, compared to the previous year.
  • The most common reason cited as the main reason for making a homelessness application was being 'Asked to leave' their previous accommodation, which accounted for 25% of applications. The second most common reason was 'Dispute within the household / relationship breakdown: non-violent' (18%), followed by 'Dispute within the household: violent or abusive' (13%).
  • 67% of applicants gave additional reasons for failing to maintain accommodation. Of these, 'Not to do with applicant household (e.g. landlord selling property, fire, circumstances of other persons sharing previous property, harassment by others, etc)', remains the most common additional reason for failing to maintain accommodation, with 44% of people answering this question giving this as a reason. 25% of applicants gave 'Mental health reasons' as an additional reason, while 23% cited 'Lack of support from friends / family'.


  • 29,894 applications were assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness, a rise of 523 (2%) on 2017/18. This represents 82% of the 36,392 assessments made in 2018/19.
  • 1,744 of those assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness were assessed as repeat homeless. This was 5.8% of those assessed, a proportion that has fallen from 7.0% in 2014/15.

Temporary accommodation

  • There were 10,989 households in temporary accommodation as at 31 March 2019, an increase of 56 households (1%) since last year.
  • Of these households in temporary accommodation, 3,315 had children or a pregnant woman – an increase of 65 households (2%) compared with one year earlier.
  • The number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 180 children (3%), to 6,795 compared with the same date one year ago.
  • Between 1 April 2018 and 31st March 2019 (based on temporary accommodation placement cases closed during this period), there were 620 placements involving a breach of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation Order) (Scotland). Most of these were in Edinburgh (465 breaches).


  • 71% of those assessed as unintentionally homeless or threatened with homelessness secured settled accommodation. This proportion has risen consistently from 48% in 2002/03.


Email: lee.bunce@gov.scot

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