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 document is part of a collection

Reasons for Homelessness and Prior Circumstances

Key Points

  • Indications of a return to pre-pandemic proportions in reasons for homelessness and from where households become homeless.
  • Rough sleeping numbers remain lower compared to pre-pandemic, although there have been signs of more recent increases.


‘Asked to leave’ and ‘household disputes’ remain the most common reasons given for making a homelessness application. The proportion stating ‘asked to leave’ increased following COVID-19 and remains higher than pre-pandemic proportions. Although ‘household disputes’ decreased compared to 2020, this remains higher than pre-pandemic proportions. ‘Fleeing domestic violence’ and ‘harassment’ have both seen an increase from 2019 and 2020. ‘Termination of tenancy / mortgage due to rent arrears / default on payments’ remains lower than pre-pandemic proportions.

Chart 3: Asked to leave still high compared to pre-pandemic levels, while other reasons returning to pre-pandemic proportions
Bar chart showing the main reasons for making an application for homelessness

Some applicants (75%) also provided additional reasons for homelessness. Of these, the biggest change in percentage share was for ‘not to do with the applicant household’ - from 44% to 48% - with ‘lack of support from family/friends’ experiencing the greatest decrease from 25% to 21%.

Previous property

Similarly, there appears to be a bit of return to pre-pandemic proportions from where people are becoming homeless. This is particularly the case for those becoming homeless from friends/partners. There has been less of a decrease in those from parental/family home compared to 2020. Those becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy have increased from last year, although this remains still quite a bit lower compared to pre-pandemic proportions.

Chart 4: Increase in the proportion becoming homeless from private rented tenancies with an decrease in those from friends and partners
Bar chart showing property type from which households became homeless

The decline in proportions becoming homeless from friends and partners mirrors the decreases in those becoming homeless following a household dispute. The increase in those becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy may be due to the ceasing of the ban on evictions which were lifted from 17th May 2021, in line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Rough sleeping

Between April and September 2021, 690 (4% of all applications) households reported rough sleeping the night before and 1,078 (6% of all applications) in the previous 3 months. Numbers reporting rough sleepers remain smaller than those pre-pandemic, although there have been some recent increases as demonstrated in Chart 5.

Chart 5: Recent increases in the reporting of rough sleeping following a period of decline
Line chart showing the number of households which experienced rough sleeping 3 months prior to their application and the night before their application


Email: homelessness_statistics_inbox@gov.scot

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