Homelessness in Scotland: update to 30 September 2021

This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness in Scotland in the 6 month period from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021, alongside historical data.


This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness in Scotland in the 6 month period from 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2021, as well as providing data for previous quarters for context.

Its main purpose is to provide an indication of trends for key aspects of homelessness incuding applications, assessments, use of temporary accommodation and outcomes ahead of the annual publication, which includes a fuller set of information.

The statistics in this publication are based on administrative data collected by local authorities in the course of processing homelessness applications. A limitation of this approach is that data is not collected for any households that are homeless but do not engage with their local authority. For this reason the statistics in this publication do not necessarily cover the entire homeless population in Scotland. More detail on the data sources we use are included at the end of this publication.

Excel workbooks containing the tables and charts referenced in this publication are available to download at: https://www.gov.scot/collections/homelessness-statistics/

A Quick Guide to the Homelessness Process

A household is homeless if they have no accommodation in the UK or elsewhere, or have accommodation but cannot reasonably occupy it. A household is threatened with homelessness if it is likely they will become homeless within two months.

There are three stages involved in a homeless application in Scotland:

1. The Application stage where the household first presents to the local authority.

2. The Assessment stage which determines:

a. If the household is eligible for assistance. Households with no recourse to public funds are not eligible for homelessness assistance, though may be provided temporary accommodation while their status is assessed;

b. whether the household is homeless or threatened with homelessness;

c. if the household is homeless, whether this is ‘unintentional’ or ‘intentional’; and

d. if unintentionally homeless, whether there is a connection to the local authority to which the application was made and/or to any other local authority.

3. The Outcome stage. A case can be closed only once the local authority has fulfilled its statutory duty or contact has been lost for 28 days.

What is the statutory duty of the local authority?

If a household is unintentionally homeless (or threatened with homelessness), the local authority must offer settled accommodation. Until this is available, the local authority must offer temporary accommodation.

If a household is intentionally homeless (or threatened with homelessness), the local authority has no statutory duty to provide settled accommodation (although they may choose to do so). There is a duty to provide temporary accommodation and advice and assistance to help the household secure alternative accommodation.

Temporary accommodation must be offered while the household is awaiting an assessment decision.

The statutory duty lies with the local authority the household applies to. If a household has no local connection to the one to which it applied, but to another local authority, they may be referred.

A household can accept or refuse offers of accommodation. A local authority’s duty to secure accommodation for unintentionally homeless households would be fulfilled by an offer that is refused, provided that the offer is a reasonable one.

More information on the duties local authorities have to assist people who are threatened with or experiencing homelessness can be found in the Code of Guidance on Homelessness.


Email: homelessness_statistics_inbox@gov.scot

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