Homelessness in Scotland: 2020 to 2021

This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness in Scotland in the period from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021, alongside historical data.

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How Long Does it Take to Complete the Homeless Application Process?

Key Points

  • It takes an average of 16 days for a case to be assessed. This has fallen from 29 days in 2004/05 but was the same as for 2019/20.
  • It takes 248 days on average from assessment to closure for cases assessed as homeless, increasing from 225 days in 2019/20.

How long does it take for an application to be processed?

In 2020/21, it took 16 days on average for a case to be assessed following an application. This has fallen over time from an average of 29 days in 2004/05. Again there is considerable variation among local authorities, with Glasgow and Aberdeen City taking 9 days on average to assess each case compared to 41 in Inverclyde. (Table 25)

The time taken from assessment to closure varies depending on the outcome of the assessment. For homelessness cases that closed in 2020/21 it took an average of 248 days from assessment to closure. This compares to 225 days in 2019/20 and reflects the difficulties local authorities have reported moving households into settled accommodation in the COVID-19 period, as well as the increase in open cases. For households not assessed as homeless, where the local authority does not have a duty to provide temporary accommodation or permanent settled accommodation, the average was 30 days. (Tables 50 & 51)

The time taken to close homelessness cases has increased significantly over time. In 2002/03 it took 41 days on average for a case to be closed. This is likely due to the extension of duties local authorites have to homeless applicants.

Chart 15: Average number of days taken to close homelessness applications assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness


Email: homelessness_statistics_inbox@gov.scot

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