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


Key Points

  • 13,265 homelessness cases assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness were closed in the period April to September 2021 – an increase of 32% compared to 2020.
  • The proportion of unintentionally homeless households securing settled accommodation increased from 78% to 82%.
  • There was a notable increase in the proportion moving into RSL accommodation from 27% to 33%.

Homelessness cases are closed once the local authority has fulfilled its statutory duty or contact has been lost with the applicant household for 28 days. Local authorities provide information on the circumstances and outcomes of homelessness cases once they have been closed.

Cases closed

There was a sizable increase in the number of applications assessed as unintentionally homeless which closed between April and September 2021 – 13,265, a 32% increase compared to the 10,030 closures over the same period in 2020 for those assessed as homeless.

It is likely that this increase is due to local authorities being more able to move households into settled accommodation in line with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Lost contact

Contact was maintained for the vast majority of households assessed as unintentionally homeless (96%, a slight increase from last year) and intentionally homeless (94%, a slight decrease from last year, bearing in mind these are based on relatively small numbers).


Of the 12,745 unintentionally homeless cases that closed in the 6 month period (where contact was maintained and the outcome known), 82% secured settled accommodation. Settled accommodation here is defined as a local authority tenancy, a tenancy with a registered social landlord or a private rented tenancy.

This is an increase from 78% over the same period last year, although it should be noted that the period April-June 2020 had particularly low proportions achieving a settled outcome (74%) likely due to the impacts of COVID-19 meaning it was difficult to move people into settled accommodation.

In particular, between April and September 2021 there was a much higher proportion moving into RSL accommodation – 33% compared to 27% over the same period in 2020 (this was 30% in 2019). This movement has been influenced by the prior mentioned efforts of Glasgow City in co-operation with the Housing Associations.

There was a decline in people returning to previous accommodation, back in line with pre-pandemic proportions. However, the proportion with accommodation in a private rented tenancy was only 3% - the lowest in the series.

Chart 8: A larger proportion of households moved into RSL accommodation
Bar chart showing the outcomes of unintentionally homeless households

The proportion of those intentionally homeless securing settled accommodation also increased – from 38% to 52%. However, these are based on relatively small numbers (which have decreased as a result in changes in intentionality legislation), and are therefore particularly susceptible to natural fluctuation.

Housing support assessments

Upon closing a homelessness case, local authorities are required to assess whether any housing support services are required by the household for any cases assessed as unintentionally homeless and where it has reason to believe that support would be beneficial. It also has a duty to provide that support if needed.

Across Scotland, assessments for housing support needs were carried out in 82% of cases where there was a duty to assess between April and September 2021 – an increase from 77% last year. Support was provided for 44% of all cases, although support was not provided for 7% who were identified as needing it (this is a decrease from 10% last year). In 17% of cases where there was a duty to assess, no assessment took place and no support was provided.


Email: homelessness_statistics_inbox@gov.scot

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