Homelessness in Scotland: Equalities Breakdown 2019 to 2020

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

This document is part of a collection


The following provides key findings for aspects of homelessness where there are differences based on the gender of the main applicant. As this analysis does not capture additional adults in households with multiple adults, it is also useful to consider results broken down by household type.

Reasons for homelessness and prior circumstances

Women more likely to be homeless as a result of a violent household dispute, although a higher percentage of men state a non-violent dispute
Reasons for homelessness by gender, percentages (2019/20)
Bar chart showing reason for making a homeless application by gender of main applicant

Single female applicants are most likely to report 'mental health reasons' as an additional reason for failing to maintain accommodation (31% vs 26% for single males). 'Lack of support from family/friends', 'drug/alcohol dependency' and 'difficulties managing on own' were more likely to be cited as reasons for single households than other household types. Single male households had the highest proportion with a drug/alcohol dependency (19% vs 12% for single female households).

The property type which a household became homeless from was relatively similar for women and men with the exception of private rented tenancy. 22% of women became homeless from this property type compared to only 11% of men.

Men were much more likely to experience rough sleeping – 76% of those reporting rough sleeping in the previous 3 months were single male households compared to 13% for single female households.

Single male households are more likely to have been previously assessed as homeless in the previous 12 months, with 8% of applications reassessed as homeless compared to 5% of single females. 66% of households previously assessed as homeless were single males.

Support needs

Mental health needs more prominent in women, drug and alcohol dependency more prominent in men
Support needs by household type, percentage (2019/20)
Bar chart showing proportion of households with different support needs by gender and household type

'Other' households are more likely than all other household types to have a physical or learning disability or a medical condition.

('Other' households include households with 2 adults that are not a couple or households with more than 2 adults.)

Temporary accommodation

Single male households are most likely to use temporary accommodation. 70% of single male households took up temporary accommodation compared to 59% of single female households and 64% overall.

Households with children tend to spend longer in temporary accommodation on average
Average total time (days) spent in temporary accommodation by household type (2019/20)
Bar chart showing average total time spent in temporary accommodation by household type

There is an exception for single male parent households, with an average time more in line with single male households.

81% of instances where households requiring temporary accommodation were not offered temporary accommodation in 2019/20 were single males and 11% single females.[4]


Female main applicants were more likely to secure settled accommodation than male main applicants – 85% vs 79%. (To note: in household with two or more adults, 61% of main applicants are female. These types of households account for 12% of the total.)

Single adult households are least likely to secure a settled outcome
Proportion securing settled accommodation by household type, percentage (2019/20)
Bar chart showing proportion of household securing settled accommodation as the outcome of their application by household type

Tying in with time spent in temporary accommodation, it generally took longer for households with children to complete the homelesness process with the exception of single male parents. (Single male 231 days vs single male parent 189 days; single female 216 days vs single female parent 228 days; couple 183 days vs couple with children 253 days; other 200 days vs other with children 246 days.)



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