Housing First monitoring report: year two quarter four

Housing First Quarterly Monitoring: January to March 2023

Housing First Quarterly Monitoring

January to March 2023 - edition 8

Data collected by the Scottish Government confirms that an estimated 1,489 Housing First tenancies have started across Scotland at 31 March 2023.[1]  This report captures data for Housing First tenancies which started from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2023. Prior to this date, data on Housing First tenancies in the pathfinder areas was independently assessed and published here.

Key points  

  • A total of 86 new Housing First tenancies started between 1 January and 31 March 2023. 11 tenancies had begun prior to this period, which had not been captured in previous reports. This brings the total number of Housing First tenancies which started since 1 April 2021 to 672.
  • There are currently 613 Housing First tenancies:
    • 59 tenancies have ended (none ended in eviction).
  • 60 tenancies are in the ‘step down’ phase, and 11 are in the ‘stand down’ phase.[2]Within the 613 Housing First tenancies there are 625 adults and 64 children. Additionally, 76 households had access to 115 children but do not have full-time custody.
  • Between 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2023, it has taken an average of 243 days for a Housing First participant to move into a permanent tenancy from the referral date.
  • 17% of Housing First participants moved into their tenancy within 50 days.
  • 94% of Housing First households are single people.
  • 39% of participants are aged 35-49.
  • 64% of participants are receiving support from the third and independent sector.

Tenancy sustainment rates are currently not included in this report.  We are working towards the inclusion of figures in future publications.

Housing First across Scotland

From responses received through the monitoring framework, 26 local authorities are operating a Housing First programme at 31 March 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.


91 new Housing First tenancies started across 20 local authorities between 1 January and 31 March 2023. 11 tenancies had begun prior to this period, which had not been previously captured in this monitoring framework. This brings the total number of Housing First tenancies started to 677 between 1 April 2021 and 31 March 2023. All tenants are on a permanent tenancy and are not in temporary accommodation. 61 tenancies have now ended; 61 people have now moved into the ‘step down’ phase; and a further 11 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 31 March 2023 and latest quarterly return.

1 April 21 – 31 March 23                         1 January 23 – 31 March 23

Local Authority        Tenancies               Local Authority          Tenancies

Scotland                            672               Scotland                            86

Glasgow City                     79                 Renfrewshire                      16

Renfrewshire                     76                 Dundee City                       8

Aberdeenshire                   59                 City of Edinburgh               6

North Lanarkshire              49                 Inverclyde                          6

West Dunbartonshire         44                 Midlothian                          6

Midlothian                          43                 Aberdeenshire                    5

North Ayrshire                   42                 North Ayrshire                     5

Dundee City                       35                 North Lanarkshire             5

City of Edinburgh               31                 Scottish Borders                   5

Fife                                    28                 Dumfries & Galloway       1

Stirling                               24                 Aberdeen City                    <5

Aberdeen City                   23                 Glasgow City                      <5

Inverclyde                          20                 Stirling                              <5

Falkirk                                18                 West Dunbartonshire        <5

South Lanarkshire             16                 East Lothian                       <5

South Ayrshire                  13                 Fife                                    <5

Dumfries & Galloway         10                 Highland                            <5

Scottish Borders                10                 South Ayrshire                     <5

Angus                                9                  Argyll & Bute                      <5

West Lothian                      8                  East Ayrshire                     <5

East Ayrshire                      8                  

Western Isles                    7                  

Moray                                6                  

Highland                            5                  

East Lothian                      5                  

Argyll & Bute                      <5                                          

Information was gathered on whether or not households had a homelessness application (HL1) and/or Housing Options (PREVENT1) approach recorded. Data shows that 93% of Housing First participants had a homelessness application, and 73% had a Housing Options[3] 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 31 March 2023.


Across the 613 ‘live’, ‘step down’ or ‘stand down’ tenancies, 65% of the main Housing First tenants are male and 35% are female.[4]

Chart 1: The household composition of Housing First tenancies.

Single Male                       63%

Single Female                   32%

Single Parent                    3%

Other                                 1%

Couple                               1%

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

Residing within the 613 households were 625 adults. Within 37 Housing First tenancies there are 64 children. Additionally, 76 households had access to 115 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            19%

25-34            26%

35-49           39%

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         95%

Other British            3%

Other ethnic group   2%

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

Heterosexual/ Straight       54%

Don’t know                        33%

Prefer not to say                10%

Gay/Lesbian                      2%

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 the potentially sensitive nature of this question, many responses were initially recorded as unknown as participants build up confidence with support workers to provide this information. The proportion of ‘Don’t know’ or ‘Prefer not to say’ responses has steadily decreased since the first quarterly report (April 2021 to June 2021).


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

No                           65%

Yes                         25%

Don’t know              9%

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 217 days across the 26 local authorities. This has increased from 208 days in the previous quarterly report. The average time from referral to permanent tenancy has increased in the last two reporting periods from 207 to 243 days.

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

LA Tenancy  68%

RSL              29%

PRS              1%

Of the 613 ‘live’, ‘step down’ or ‘stand down’ tenancies, the proportion of local authority tenancies has decreased slightly from 69% to 68% over the last reporting period. Registered social landlords (RSLs) have provided a steady proportion of Housing First tenancies, around a quarter of all tenancies over the last three reporting periods. 9 tenancies are either the private rented sector (PRS) or ‘Other’, representing one per cent of the total number of tenancies a drop of 2% on the previous report period.

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

-50                17.1%

51-100          16.9%

101-150        11.8%

151-200        10.7%

201-250        8.5%

251-300        7.8%

301-350        6.6%

351-450        7.4%

451-550        3.1%

551-650        2.1%

651-750        2.3%

751+             5.8%

Chart 7 shows that 17% of Housing First participants move into their tenancies within 50 days. This is a slight decrease from the previous quarter when 19% moved into their tenancy within 50 days. The proportion of participants waiting over 350 days has also continued to increase from 15% (April 21 to March 22) to 21% (April 21 to March 23). 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  56%

Area housing office           12%

Other                                11%

Addiction referral               6%

Criminal Justice System     6%

Third Sector                      5%

Prison                               3%

Through-care/ after-care    1%

Housing First support

The data for this section is based on the main Housing First participant in 542 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. We expect this to become more robust over time and to be able to separate out previous support needs.

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

General Housing Support   97%

Budgeting                          90%

Resettlement                     88%

Upkeep of Tenancy            85%

Accessing Benefits            86%

Mental Health                    81%

Drugs                                72%

Safety/Security                  70%

Social Isolation                  68%

Criminal Activity                66%

Advocacy                          56%

Alcohol                               51%

Physical Health                  48%

Exploitation                        38%

Literacy                             33%

Other                                 27%

Sexual Health                    18%

Personal Care                   10%

Learning Disability             9%

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

Local authorities were also asked to record areas where support was required, but not provided, for Housing First participants across the same 19 categories. Proportionally fewer Housing First participants have an unmet support need across learning disability and literacy, but seven and a half per cent of participants require mental health support which is not provided. However, as the number of participants who have an unmet support need increases above five, we are able to give a more detailed breakdown of the areas which are lacking in support provision, as shown in Chart 10.

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

Mental Health                    7.5%

Other                                 3.7%

Exploitation                        3.1%

Drugs                                2.2%

Budgeting                          2.8%

Learning Disability             2.6%

Upkeep of Tenancy            1.8%

Physical Health                  1.8%

Criminal Activity                 1.7%

Sexual Health                    1.5%

Alcohol                              1.3%

Literacy                             1.1%

Social Isolation                  0.9%

Advocacy                          0.9%

Personal Care                   0.9%

Chart 10 Note: The ‘Other’ category includes Housing First participants who have unmet support needs across ‘Accessing Benefits’, ‘Safety/Security’,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 11: Housing First participants with current multiple support needs.

Support 1-5 Areas             13%

Support 6-10 Areas           45%

Support 11-15 Areas          38%

Support 16+ Areas             4%

Chart 12: Housing First participants receiving support from each provider.

Third and Independent Sector                           64%                       

Health and Social Care Partnerships                 53%                       

Alcohol and Drugs Partnership                          52%                       

Mental Health Service                                       38%                       

Other                                                               19%                       

Peer Support                                                    11%   

Chart 12 shows a breakdown of the services involved in delivering support to Housing First tenancies. When compared to the data reported in the previous quarter, ‘Mental Health Services’ are involved in the care of comparatively fewer Housing First participants. Similarly, ‘Peer Support’ is in place for comparatively fewer Housing First participants where with Alcohol and Drugs, Health and Social Care there has been a slight increase.  As the number of Housing First participants grows across Scotland, a more detailed breakdown of the ‘other’ category will be provided.

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

0 Support Providers           5%

1 Support Provider             24%

2 Support Providers           15%

3 Support Providers           18%

4 Support Providers           12%

5 Support Providers           5%

6+ Support Providers         1%

Chart 13 note: Informal support was also provided for 37% of Housing First participants.

Chart 13 provides detail of the number of partners providing Housing First support. In 24% 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. Five per cent of participants were recorded as having no support provider. However, a significant proportion 26% receive informal support.


[1] Housing First tenancies which started as part of the Housing First Pathfinder programme from September 2021 have been included in this figure.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

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

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