Publication - Statistics

Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019

Published: 26 Jun 2019
Part of:
Statistics
ISBN:
9781787819559

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

43 page PDF

1.0 MB

43 page PDF

1.0 MB

Contents
Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019
Temporary Accommodation

43 page PDF

1.0 MB

Temporary Accommodation

Homeless applicants may be placed in temporary accommodation while the Local Authority assesses their application or while awaiting the offer of a permanent let.

Since 2002, local authorities have provided the Scottish Government with the total number of households in each type of temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter. This snapshot information (the HL2 return)[9] enables us to explore trends in temporary accommodation since 2002 (Tables 17 to 23).

In addition to the HL2 return, local authorities have more recently provided placement level information on households in temporary accommodation to the Scottish Government (the HL3 return). This has enabled new analysis of households in temporary accommodation within the two most recent financial years (2017/18 and 2018/19)[10], and information from this is presented within this section in Tables 24 to 30 and Charts 10 to 20. Additional information about the HL3 data received from all 32 local authorities can be found in the data quality section.

Temporary Accommodation as at 31st March 2018 (snapshot information)

(Tables 17 to 23)

This section provides information on households in temporary accommodation as at 31 March 2019, from the snapshot information collected via the HL2 return.

There has been an overall rise of numbers in temporary accommodation since 2002 (See Table 17 and Chart 10). In 2002 (on 31st March), there were 4,153 households in temporary accomodation. This number gradually increased between 2002 and 2011 – 11,254 households were in temporary accomodation on 31st March 2011. This increase was linked to local authorities preparing for the abolition of priority need in December 2012, as required by the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003. Since 2010, this figure has remained relatively stable, incorporating a slight dip to 2014 followed by a subsequent rise to 2019. There were 10,989 households in temporary accommodation at 31st March 2019.

Chart 10: Households in temporary accommodation at 31 March each year

Chart 10: Households in temporary accommodation at 31 March each year

The increase in the overall number of households in temporary accommodation from 2002 is likely to have been initially driven by homelessness legislation, which placed new duties on councils to provide temporary accommodation, advice and assistance for priority and non-priority homeless households. Before 2002, the majority of priority homeless were households with children. Following this new duty there was a notable increase in the number of single people applying for homelessness assistance. These single people were also eligible for temporary accommodation.

From 2010 the number of homelessness applications has been falling, likely in part due to a consequence of the development of homelessness prevention activities by councils through adopting a 'housing options' approach to meeting housing need. This change in practice may also have contributed to the overall drop in numbers in temporary accommodation between 2011 and 2014, although the number of households in temporary accommodation has since increased between 2014 and 2019.

On 31 March 2019, the latest snapshot figures show that:

  • There were 10,989 households in temporary accommodation, an increase of 56 households (0.5%) compared to the previous year. This figure remains lower than that recorded in 2011, when there were 11,254 households in temporary accommodation (Table 17).
  • Of these households in temporary accommodation, 3,415 had children or a pregnant member – an increase of 65 households (2%) compared to the same date one year previous, and the fifth consecutive annual increase (Table 18 and Chart 10).
  • The number of children in temporary accommodation increased by 180 children (3%) to 6,795 compared to the same date one year ago, and the fifth consecutive annual increase (Table 19).

Types of temporary accommodation used

The majority of households in temporary accommodation at 31st March 2019 were in Local Authority or Housing Association accommodation (61%), with a further 15% in hostels and 10% in bed and breakfast (Table 20).

Households with children or pregnant women are mainly provided with Local Authority or Housing Association accommodation (78%), with a small proportion (1%) being placed in bed and breakfast accommodation (Table 21). On 31 March 2019, there were 25 households with children or pregnant women in bed and breakfast accommodation. This figure has decreased (from 40 on 31st March 2018) since the same date one year ago, due to a fall in these cases in Edinburgh.

Placement level analysis of Temporary Accommodation usage

This section provides a range of analysis and information on households in temporary accommodation throughout the year 2018/19, based on the placement level data collected in the HL3 return.

Numbers of households (Tables 23 to 26)

Between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019, a total of 21,095 unique households entered temporary accommodation within this year (Table 23). Over two-thirds of these households (69%) were single person households, whilst around a quarter (25%) contained children (Table 24).

During the same time period, 21,551 households exited temporary accommodation, a figure 2% higher than the number of households entering temporary accommodation. 69% of the households exiting temporary accommodation were single person households, and 25% contained children (Table 24), similar percentages compared to households entering temporary accomodation.

There were over 3,000 more households exiting social sector accommodation[11] (local authority ordinary dwelling and housing association accommodation) compared to entering this type of accommodation. Conversely, there were over 2,000 fewer households exiting bed and breakfast accommodation compared to entering this type of household during the time period. However some of these differences are likely due to how some households move between different placements whilst in temporary accommodation, for example some households may have been placed in hostel or bed and breakfast type of accommodation when they first entered temporary accommodation, after which they may subsequently have been placed in social sector or other types of temporary accommodation before exiting temporary accommodation completely. (Table 25)

There are some differences in placements by household type. For example 89% of households entering temporary accommodation in hostels are single people, whilst 50% of households entering temporary accommodation in housing association dwellings contain children. (Table 26)

It should be noted that the information presented on household type is derived from the information on household type as at the time of the original homelessness application, and therefore may not reflect the actual composition of the household whilst in temporary accommodation. For example, children may be included in the homeless application, however it is not necessarily the case that they will be staying in the temporary accommodation provided.

Chart 11 shows that the majority (59%) of households that exited temporary accommodation during 2018/19 had one placement in temporary accommodation. Almost a quarter (24%) of households had two placements in temporary accommodation and 18% had three or more placements. This reflects that most households using temporary accommodation are placed once, but that there are some who move through multiple temporary accommodation placements.

Chart 11: Number of temporary accommodation placements per household
Based on a count of unique households exiting temporary accommodation during 2018/19

Chart 11: Number of temporary accommodation placements per household

Total duration in temporary accommodation – at a household level (a measure of duration across all placements that a household has been in)
Household level analysis (Table 27)

These figures look at total duration in temporary accommodation across all placements, i.e. where a household has had more than one placement then the average time figure relates to the total time spent across all placements.

Across all local authorities during 2018/19, average lengths of time of around 150 to 200 days (around 5 to 7 months) per authority are common for temporary accommodation durations in 2018/19.

At the Scotland level, households with children tend to be in temporary accommodation for longer (219 days for households with children compared to 166 days for households without children). This is particularly pronounced in some local authorities (for example, in Midlothian, the average number of days is 449 for households with children and 293 for households without children). Although it is worth noting that the number of families is considerably smaller than the number of only adult households.

Chart 12 shows that of the 21,551 households which exited temporary accommodation during 2018/19, the majority (67%) had a total duration of 5 weeks to 12 months, this includes 4,623 households (21%) which were in temporary accommodation for 5 to 12 weeks, 4,992 households (23%) which were in temporary accommodation for 3 to 6 months and 4,872 households (23%) with a duration of 7 to 12 months. A total of 2,925 households (14%) were in temporary accommodation for a year or longer, whilst 4,139 households (19%) were in for a 4 weeks or less.

Chart 12: Number of households by total duration in temporary accommodation
Based on a count of unique households exiting temporary accommodation during 2018/19

Chart 12: Number of households by total duration in temporary accommodation

Duration in temporary accommodation (within each placement)

Placement level analysis (Charts 13 to 20)

Chart 13 shows that of the 40,022 placements which were closed during 2018/19, the majority had a duration of 12 weeks or less. This includes those that lasted one week or less (22%); those that lasted 1 to 4 weeks (18%) and those that lasted 5 to 12 weeks (24%). 4% of placements had a duration of a year or longer.

Chart 13: Number of days in temporary accommodation

Chart 13: Number of days in temporary accommodation

All placements exiting during 2018/19

Chart 14 summarises the total number of days that households have spent in temporary accommodation (closed placements only) in each local authority. Glasgow and Edinburgh have more than double the number of both placements and household days compared to any other local authority.

Chart 14: Total number of days in temporary accommodation
All placements exiting during 2018/19

Chart 14: Total number of days in temporary accommodation

Chart 15 shows that across temporary accommodation placements which ended during 2018/19, the average length of stay can vary by accommodation type. Local authority, housing association and private sector placements are likely to involve longer periods (i.e. 3 months or longer). Most hostel placements last 12 weeks or less. Bed and breakfast placements tend to be much shorter in length (most placements fall in the 1 week or less category); nonetheless, the chart shows that in some cases, bed and breakfast placements do last for longer than 7 months and less frequently, over a year.

Chart 15: Duration in Temporary Accommodation by placement type
Based on the duration of individual placements that ended during 2018/19

Chart 15: Duration in Temporary Accommodation by placement type

Chart 16: Duration in Temporary Accommodation by household type
Based on the duration of individual placements that ended during 2018/19

Chart 16: Duration in Temporary Accommodation by household type

Chart 16 shows that the majority of single person households are in temporary accommodation placements for shorter periods (12 weeks or less); this is likely due to the volume of single person households in accommodation types which are intended to be shorter-term, i.e. bed and breakfast accommodation and hostels (Table 27). For other household types there is a fairly constant distribution across the duration periods other than lower numbers for 1 year plus.

Local authority variation in placement duration

Most local authorities have an average placement duration of around 3 to 4 months (80 to 120 days) (Chart 17). This is the average length of time for all placements.

Chart 17 shows that some local authorities with a relatively small number of placements exiting temporary accommodation during 2018/19 can have the longest average stays (for example, Shetland and Eilean Siar).

Chart 17: Average duration in Temporary Accommodation by local authority
All placements exiting during 2018/19

Chart 17: Average duration in Temporary Accommodation by local authority

Different local authority trends emerge when looking at average time in specific temporary accommodation types. Notably, some local authorities do not use some accommodation types, for example stock transfer local authorities make very little, or no use of local authority dwellings (Glasgow, Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Inverclyde and Eilean Siar); other local authorities do not use Housing Association accommodation (for example, Aberdeen City, Clackmannanshire and Fife). See Chart 18 to see average duration by local authority dwellings and Chart 19 for average duration in Housing Association dwellings.

Chart 18: Average duration in local authority dwellings
All LA placements exiting during 2018/19

Chart 18: Average duration in local authority dwellings

Chart 19: Average duration in Housing Association accommodation
All housing association placements exiting during 2018/19

Chart 19: Average duration in Housing Association accommodation

Chart 20 shows that average length of stay in B&B accommodation (for local authorities which use this accommodation type) is less than 25 days for most local authorities. Four local authorities (Midlothian, Eilean Siar, Angus and Highland) have average durations over 60 days.

Chart 20: Average duration in Bed and Breakfast accommodation
All B&B placements exiting during 2018/19, local authorities with 10 or fewer placements not presented

Chart 20: Average duration in Bed and Breakfast accommodation

To note, several local authorities did not use bed and breakfast accommodation during 2018/19: Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway, East Ayrshire, Falkirk, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, South Ayrshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Applications in which temporary accommodation was not offered

An HL3 return is completed when a local authority has a statutory duty to provide temporary accommodation under the homeless persons legislation, however, a local authority is also required to indicate when they do not offer any temporary accommodation to a household and thus, are acting unlawfully. During 2018/19, 3,535 HL3 applications were 'not offered' temporary accommodation (Table 28). The majority of these cases (95%) were in Glasgow.

Breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order

In total, there were 620 breaches of the Homeless Persons Unsuitable Accommodation Order during 2018/19 (Table 29), based on temporary accommodation placement cases closed during this year, this compares to 395 breaches during 2017/18.

This will partly be due to the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2017, which was implemented from October 2017 and which shortened the number of days that local authorities can use unsuitable accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts, for families with children or pregnant women from 14 to 7 days, except in exceptional circumstances. The majority of breaches (75%) during 2018/19 were in Edinburgh, but there were ten other local authorities in which breaches of the Order were recorded.


Contact

Email: lee.bunce@gov.scot