Housing First monitoring report: April-September 2023

Housing First quarterly monitoring from April to September 2023

This document is part of a collection

The data collected by the Scottish Government captures Housing First tenancies which started between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2023.  Prior to this date, data on Housing First tenancies in the pathfinder areas was independently assessed and published here.

Key points

  • It is estimated that a total of 1,646[1] Housing First tenancies have started across Scotland at 30 September 2023.
  • A total of 150 new Housing First tenancies started between 1 April 2023 and 30 September 2023. This brings the total number of Housing First tenancies started since 1 April 2021 to 812[2].
  • There are currently 717 Housing First tenancies:
    • 95 tenancies have ended (none ended in eviction).
  • 70 tenancies are in the ‘step down’ phase, and 42 are in the ‘stand down’ phase.[3]  Within the 717 Housing First tenancies there are 726 adults and 100 children. Additionally, 84 households had access to 132 children but do not have full-time custody.
  • Between 1 April 2021 to 30 September 2023, it has taken an average of 257 days for a Housing First participant to move into a permanent tenancy from the referral date.
  • 17.5% of Housing First participants moved into their tenancy within 50 days.
  • 95% of Housing First households are single people.
  • 40% of participants are aged 35-49.

Tenancy sustainment rates[4] are at 90% over 12 months after entry.

Housing First across Scotland

From responses received through the monitoring framework, 26 local authorities are operating a Housing First programme at 30 September 2023. One more local authority is currently developing a Housing First programme.

The remaining five local authorities are not currently planning on delivering a Housing First programme due to scale or they have an alternative support programme in place.

This monitoring report captures Housing First tenancies which have begun across all 26 local authorities who are currently delivering Housing First.


150 new Housing First tenancies started across 24 local authorities between 1 April 2023 and 30 September 2023. This brings the total number of Housing First tenancies started between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2023 to 812.

All tenants are in a permanent tenancy and are not in temporary accommodation. 95 tenancies have now ended; 70 people have now moved into the ‘step down’ phase; and a further 42 are in the ‘stand down’ phase of Housing First.

Table A: Total number of tenancies started in each local authority between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2023 and latest quarterly return.

1 April 21 – 31 March 23 

Local Authority                Tenancies   

Scotland                            812

Renfrewshire                     87

Glasgow City                     84

Aberdeenshire                   72

Fife                                   52

North Ayrshire                   51

Midlothian                          50

North Lanarkshire              48

West Dunbartonshire         46

City of Edinburgh               45

Dundee City                      40

Stirling                               30

Aberdeen City                    29

Inverclyde                          28

Falkirk                               21

South Lanarkshire             16

Dumfries & Galloway         15

South Ayrshire                   14

Angus                               13

Scottish Borders                13

Moray                               12

West Lothian                     10

East Ayrshire                     9

Argyll & Bute                      8

Western Isles                    8

East Lothian                      7

Highland                           <5

1 April 23 – 30 September 23

Local Authority                Tenancies

Scotland                            150

Fife                                   23

City of Edinburgh               16

Renfrewshire                     14

Aberdeenshire                   13

Glasgow City                     10

North Ayrshire                   9

Inverclyde                          8

Midlothian                          8

Aberdeen City                    6

Moray                                6

Dundee City                      5

Stirling                               5

Angus                               <5

Argyll & Bute                     <5

Dumfries & Galloway         <5

Scottish Borders                <5

East Lothian                      <5

Falkirk                               <5

North Lanarkshire              <5

West Lothian                     <5

East Ayrshire                     <5

Western Isles                    <5

Highland                            <5

South Ayrshire                   <5

Information was gathered on whether or not households had a homelessness application (HL1) and/or Housing Options (PREVENT1) approach recorded. Data shows that 92% of Housing First participants had a homelessness application, and 70% had a Housing Options[5] approach recorded.

Household characteristics

The data for this section is based on the main Housing First participant in ‘live’, ‘step down’ or ‘stand down’ tenancies which began between 1 April 2021 and 30 September 2023.


Across the 717 ‘live’, ‘step down’ or ‘stand down’ tenancies, 66% of the main Housing First tenants are male and 34% are female.[6]

Household composition

Chart 1: The household composition of Housing First tenancies.

Single Male                       65%

Single Female                   29%

Single Parent                    4%

Couple/Other                      2%

Chart 1 note: 94% of Housing First households are single people. ‘Single Parent’ includes both Male and Female data.

Residing within the 717 households were 726 adults. Within 54 Housing First tenancies there are 100 children. Additionally, 84 households had access to 132 children but do not have full-time custody.


Chart 2: Age of main Housing First participant at tenancy start date.

16-17            2%

18-24            18%

25-34            27%

35-49           40%

50-64            13%

Chart 2 note: There are no Housing First participants over the age of 65.


Chart 3: Ethnicity of the main Housing First tenant

White Scottish         94%

Other British            4%

Other ethnic group   2%

Sexual orientation
Chart 4: Sexual orientation of the main Housing First tenant

Heterosexual/ Straight       60%

Don’t know                        32%

Prefer not to say                5%

Gay/Lesbian                      1%

Bi-Sexual                           1%

Local authorities have been asked to collect information on the sexual orientation of the main Housing First participant. Due to this data not being collected in some local authorities and because answering the question is voluntary, many responses were initially recorded as unknown.


Chart 5: Proportion of Housing First participants with a disability.

No                           63%

Yes                         28%

Don’t know              7%

Prefer not to say      1%

Housing First tenancies

For tenancies which have begun since 1 April 2021, the average length of time between participants being referred for Housing First support and being offered a permanent tenancy is 231 days across the 26 local authorities. This has increased from 217 days in the previous quarterly report. The average time from referral to permanent tenancy has increased in the last two reporting periods from 243 to 257 days.

Chart 6: Tenancy type of ‘live’, ‘step down’ or ‘stand down’ tenancies.

LA Tenancy  68%

RSL              28%

PRS              4%

Of the 717 ‘live’, ‘step down’ or ‘stand down’ tenancies, the proportion of local authority tenancies has maintained at 68%. Registered social landlords (RSLs) have provided a lower but steady proportion of Housing First tenancies – around a quarter of all tenancies over the last three reporting periods. 23 tenancies are either the private rented sector (PRS) or ‘Other’, representing 4% of the total number of tenancies, an increase on the previous report period which was 1%.

Chart 7: Banded national average in days to access a permanent tenancy from referral date.

0-50              17.5%

51-100          18.5%

101-150        12.6%

151-200        10.9%

201-250        7.9%

251-300        7.1%

301-350        5.6%

351-450        4.9%

451-550        2.5%

551-650        2.4%

651-750        2.0%

751+             7.9%

Chart 7 shows that 17.5% of Housing First participants move into their tenancies within 50 days. The proportion of participants waiting over 350 days previously increase from 15% (April 21 to March 22) to 21% (April 21 to March 23) and we now see a slight drop to 20% (1 April 21 to 31 September). This average has been calculated on a national basis due to the small number of tenancies in some local authority areas at present.

Referral Route

Chart 8: Referral route of Housing First participants.

Homelessness application  57.7%

Area housing office           11.2%

Other                                10.3%

Addiction referral               5.9%

Criminal Justice System     5.2%

Third Sector                      5.5%

Prison                               3.1%

Through-care/ after-care    1%

Police/NHS                        0.3%

Housing First support

The data for this section is based on the main Housing First participant in 605 tenancies where support continues to be provided, and the tenancy is ‘live’. This excludes tenancies which are in the ‘step down’ or ‘stand down’ phase.

Local authorities were asked to record the support that each Housing First participant is currently receiving or has previously received. Given the small numbers in a number of categories, information on ‘current’ and ‘previous’ support needs have been combined for disclosure control purposes.

Chart 9: Proportion of Housing First participants with support needs.

General Housing Support   97%

Budgeting                          90%

Accessing Benefits            87%

Upkeep of Tenancy            86%

Resettlement                     85%

Mental Health                    80%

Drugs                                73%

Safety/Security                  69%

Social Isolation                  67%

Criminal Activity                65%

Advocacy                          56%

Alcohol                               49%

Physical Health                  47%

Exploitation                        40%

Literacy                             33%

Other                                 27%

Sexual Health                    19%

Personal Care                   11%

Learning Disability             9%

Chart 9 shows the proportion of participants who were recorded as having a ‘current’ or ‘previous’ support need across 19 categories.

Chart 10: Proportion of Housing First participants with support needs which are not catered for.

Mental Health                    9.3%

Other                                 3.5%

Budgeting                          3.3%

Learning Disability             3.1%

Exploitation                        3.0%

Drugs                                2.6%

Upkeep of Tenancy            2.1%

Criminal Activity                 2.0%

Sexual Health                    2.0%

Alcohol                              2.0%

Literacy                             2.0%

Physical Health                  1.8%

Advocacy                          1.8%

Safety/Security                  1.7%

Social Isolation                  1.7%

Personal Care                   1.3%

Chart 10 Note: The ‘Other’ category includes Housing First participants who have unmet support needs across ‘Accessing Benefits’,General Housing Support’, ‘Resettlement’ and ‘Other’ categories. Due to the small numbers within each area, we are unable to provide a more detailed breakdown.

Chart 10 shows where support was required, but not provided, for Housing First participants across the same 19 categories. Proportionally fewer Housing First participants have unmet learning disability and literacy support needs, but just over nine per cent of participants require mental health support which is not provided. This is increase on the last reporting period of 2%.

Chart 11: Housing First participants with multiple support needs.

Support 1-5 Areas             13%

Support 6-10 Areas           47%

Support 11-15 Areas          36%

Support 16+ Areas             4%

 Chart 12: Support to Housing First participants by provider.

Third and Independent Sector                           63%                       

Health and Social Care Partnerships                 57%                       

Alcohol and Drugs Partnership                          56%                       

Mental Health Service                                       40%                       

Other                                                               18%                       

Peer Support                                                    12%   

Chart 12 shows a breakdown of the services involved in delivering support to Housing First tenants. When compared to the data reported in the previous quarter, ‘mental health services’ are involved in the care of fewer Housing First participants. Similarly, ‘peer support’ is in place for fewer Housing First participants. There has been a slight increase in support provided by alcohol and drugs partnerships and health and social care partnerships.  

Chart 13: Housing First participants receiving support from multiple support providers.

0 Support Providers           7%

1 Support Provider             26%

2 Support Providers           17%

3 Support Providers           23%

4 Support Providers           17%

5 Support Providers           7%

6+ Support Providers         3%

Chart 13 note: Informal support was also provided for 38%[7] of Housing First participants.

Chart 13 provides detail of the number of partners providing Housing First support. In 26% of Housing First tenancies, support was provided solely by one provider, likely where a local authority has undertaken a procurement exercise to commission Housing First support from an external provider. Seven per cent of participants were recorded as having no support provider. However, a significant proportion – 38% - receive informal support, which is a significant increase on 26% in the previous report.

Employment status

12 Housing First participants are currently employed on either a full time or part time basis. In addition, 11 participants currently undertake voluntary work.

[1] Housing First tenancies which started before 1 April 2021 and those part of the Housing First Pathfinder programme have been included in this figure.

[2] The overall numbers have been revised in line with the most up to date local reporting.

[3] The ‘step down’ process involves agreement from the tenant and lead support worker that support is no longer required and a regular check-up process is agreed so that support can re-engage if required. The ‘stand down’ stage occurs when Housing First support is no longer required.

[4] Tenancy sustainment rates are calculated by dividing the number of individuals who were still housed in a Housing First tenancy 12 months after they entered (since 1 April 2021) by the total number of individuals who have been housed at least that length of time and multiplying by 100. Tenants who have passed away are excluded from the denominator used in the analysis.

[5] Housing Options is a process, which starts with housing advice when someone approaches a local authority with a housing problem. This means looking at an individual's options and choices in the widest sense.

[6] Due the low numbers of ‘other’ gender identity this has been included with the next lowest figure.

[7] Year 2 Q4 – Chart 13 note stated 37% this was incorrect and should have stated 26%

Housing First Monitoring April to September 2023
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