Homelessness in Scotland: 2021/22

This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness in Scotland in the period from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, alongside historical data.

This document is part of a collection

How long does it take to complete the homelessness application process?

Key Points in 2021/22

  • ↑ It takes an average of 19 days for a homelessness case to be assessed. This is an increase of 3 days compared to 2020/21 but has fallen from 29 days in 2004/05
  • It takes 256 days on average from assessment to closure for cases assessed as homeless. This is similar to 2020/21 (255 days) but an increase from 225 days in 2019/20

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

In 2021/22, it took 19 days on average for a case to be assessed following an application. This is three days longer on average than in 2020/21, and the highest since 2015/16. However, over time, this has fallen from an average of 29 days in 2004/05.

Again there is considerable variation among local authorities, with Glasgow taking 9 days on average to assess each case compared to 51 days on average in Edinburgh. In Edinburgh this is a large increase from 12 days on average in 2020/21. The next highest was West Lothian with an average of 32 days (increase from 30 days in 2020/21).

Average time to close homelessness cases has increased over time

Chart 16: Average number of days taken to close homelessness applications assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness
Line chart showing the longer term trend in average time taken from a homelessness assessment to closure of the application for homeless households

The time taken from assessment to closure varies depending on the outcome of the assessment.

For homeless households with cases that closed in 2021/22, it took an average of 256 days from assessment to closure. This was similar to the 255 days the year before, but longer than the 225 days in 2019/20. This increase reflects the ongoing difficulties local authorities are facing placing households into settled accommodation as a result of the backlogs caused by the pandemic and cost and supply issues with building materials and availability of tradespeople. Midlothian had the highest average of 674 days, although this was a decrease from 782 in 2020/21. Perth & Kinross had the lowest average at 64 days (decrease from 85 in 2020/21).

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 time to close a case was 34 days. This is also an increase on the previous year (30 days) and 2019/20 (27 days).

Edinburgh again experienced particularly large increases – 631 days compared to 480 days the previous year for homeless households and 110 days vs 58 days for households not assessed as homeless.


Email: homelessness_statistics_inbox@gov.scot

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