Housing First quarterly monitoring: year one quarter three

A monitoring report on Housing First tenancies started in Scotland from 1 October to 31 December 2021.

This report captures data for Housing First tenancies which started in Scotland from 1 April 2021 to 31 December 2021.

Housing First tenancies which started as part of the pathfinder programme from 1 September 2021 are now included in this monitoring report. Homeless Network Scotland will publish an end of Housing First pathfinder progress report following the end of the pilot on 31 March 2022, with a final evaluation report due from Heriot-Watt University in the summer of 2022.

Key points

  • A total of 82 new Housing First tenancies started between 1 October and 31 December 2021. This brings the total number of Housing First tenancies which started since 1 April 2021 to 227.
  • There are currently 223 Housing First tenancies:
    • Four tenancies have ended
    • Eight tenancies are in the ‘step down’ phase.[1]
  • Within the 223 Housing First tenancies there are 227 adults and 19 children. Additionally, 28 households had access to 41 children but do not have full-time custody.
  • Between 1 April 2021 to 31 December 2021, it has taken an average of 164 days for a Housing First participant to move into a permanent tenancy from the referral date.
  • 33% of Housing First participants move into their tenancy within 50 days.
  • 95% of Housing First households comprise a single person.
  • 43% of participants are aged 35-49.
  • 73% of participants are receiving support from the third and independent sector.

From responses received through the monitoring framework, 25 local authorities are operating a Housing First programme at 31 December 2021. A further two local authorities are currently developing Housing First programmes, due to start by 31 March 2022.

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

Although there are 25 local authorities who have a Housing First programme in place, this monitoring report only captures data from 22 local authorities. One local authority started its Housing First programme in this reporting period however does not have a Housing First tenant in a permanent tenancy. One local authority involved in the Pathfinder programme has not yet submitted monitoring information to the Scottish Government; this monitoring information will be included in the next report. One other pathfinder local authority has not had any new tenancies begin outwith the programme.

The next monitoring report will capture data on new Housing First tenancies which started between 1 January 2022 and 31 March 2022. This is due to be published in May 2022.


72 new Housing First tenancies started across 18 local authorities between 1 October and 31 December 2021 bringing the total number of Housing First tenancies started to 227. All tenants have moved into a permanent tenancy and are not in temporary accommodation. Four of the tenancies have now ended and eight people have now moved into the ‘step down’ phase of Housing First, meaning there are currently 215 participants receiving Housing First support.

Table A: Total number of tenancies started in each local authority in 2021/22 at 31 December 2021

Local Authority

Number of Tenancies







West Dunbartonshire


North Lanarkshire






North Ayrshire










Dundee City


South Lanarkshire


South Ayrshire


West Lothian




East Ayrshire

Dumfries and Galloway



Scottish Borders


Western Isles




East Lothian


Information was gathered on whether or not households had a homelessness application (HL1) and/or Housing Options (PREVENT1) approach recorded. Data shows that 95% of Housing First participants had a homelessness application, and 69% had a Housing Options approach recorded.

Household characteristics

The data for this section is based on the main Housing First participant in live or ‘step down’ tenancies which began between 1 April 2021 and 31 December 2021.


Across the 223 live or ‘step down’ tenancies, 70% of the main Housing First tenants are male. The remaining 30% are either female or identified as ‘other’ (fewer than five tenants).

Chart 1: The household composition of Housing First tenancies.

Single Male- 68%

Single Female- 27%

Other- 5%

95% of Housing First households comprise of a single person.

Residing within the 223 households were 227 adults and 19 children. Additionally, 28 households had access to 41 children but do not have full-time custody.


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

  • Age 16-24 – 20%
  • Age 25-34 – 27%
  • Age 35-49 – 43%
  • Age 50+ - 10%


95% of Housing First participants are White Scottish, with the other 5% from a range of ethnicities.  

Sexual orientation
Chart 3: Sexual orientation of the main Housing First tenant

  • Heterosexual/ Straight- 44%
  • Don’t know- 40%
  • Prefer not to say- 15%
  • Other- 2%

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 initially were recorded as unknown as participants build up confidence with support workers to provide this information. Where this information is known 44% have stated that they are heterosexual/straight, 2% have stated different sexual orientations which we cannot break down further due to there being fewer than five categories.   


Chart 4: Proportion of Housing First participants with a disability.

  • No- 65%
  • Yes- 22%
  • Don’t know- 9%
  • Prefer not to say- 3%

The majority of Housing First participants reported that they do not have a disability. However, 12% of responses to this question are unknown/prefer not to say.

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 142 days across the 21 local authorities. This has slightly increased from 141 days in the previous quarterly report. However, the average time from referral to their permanent tenancy starting has decreased by one day in this reporting period from 165 to 164 days.

Of the 223 live or ‘step down’ tenancies, the proportion of local authority tenancies has increased from 68% to 75% across this quarter, with 25% being provided by registered social landlords (RSLs).

Information received from some local authorities shows that in some areas temporary tenancies are converted or ‘flipped’ into permanent Housing First tenancies. Housing First support has also been used as a homelessness prevention method in some local authority areas.

Chart 5: Banded National average in days to access a permanent tenancy from referral date


  • 0-50 – 33%
  • 51-100- 18%
  • 101-150- 12%
  • 151-200- 8%
  • 201-250- 6%
  • 251-300- 7%
  • 301-350- 5%
  • 351-450- 3%
  • 451-550- 2%
  • 551-650- 2%
  • 651-750- 2%
  • 751+- 2%

Chart 5 shows that 33% of Housing First participants move into their tenancies within 50 days. However, 11% of participants wait over 350 days. 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 6: Referral route of Housing First participants.

  • Homelessness Application- 56%
  • Area Housing Office- 16%
  • Other- 11%
  • Addiction Referral- 6%
  • Prison- 5%
  • Criminal Justice System- 5%

Housing First support

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

Local authorities were asked to record the support that each Housing First participant is currently receiving or has previously received. Due to the infancy of the monitoring for this cohort of Housing First participants, information on previous support needs is limited at present and ‘current’ and ‘previous’ have been combined. We expect this to become more robust over time and to be able to show the previous support needs separated out.

Chart 7: Number of Housing First participants with support needs.

  • General Housing Support- 214
  • Resettlement- 205
  • Budgeting- 195
  • Upkeep of Tenancy- 191
  • Mental Health- 180
  • Accessing Benefits- 176
  • Drugs- 170
  • Safety/ Security- 154
  • Criminal Activity- 150
  • Social Isolation- 145
  • Physical Health- 116
  • Alcohol- 113
  • Advocacy- 111
  • Exploitation- 82
  • Literacy- 69
  • Other- 61
  • Sexual Health- 41
  • Personal Care- 20
  • Learning Disability- 17

Chart 7 shows the number 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. The data gathered during this reporting period shows an improving picture, as the number of participants who have needs which are not currently being supported has decreased from quarter two. The greatest improvement is in sexual health support provision, which has shown a six per cent decrease in those who lack this support from quarter two. Support with mental health and drugs continue to be areas where support provision is lacking: three per cent of participants are not receiving help with mental health support needs and two percent are not receiving support with drug issues. However, these figures have improved from quarter two, when five per cent of participants lacked mental health support and four per cent lacked support with drugs.

Chart 8: Housing First participants with current multiple support needs.

  • Support 1-5 areas- 7%
  • Support 6-10 areas- 54%
  • Support 11-15 areas- 33%
  • Support 16+ areas- 6%

The data shows that over half of people require between six and ten areas of support, with 39% of people requiring over 11 areas of support.

Chart 9: Housing First participants receiving support from each provider.

  • Third and Independent Sector- 73%
  • Health and Social Care Partnership- 57%
  • Alcohol and Drugs Partnership- 50%
  • Mental Health Services- 42%
  • Other- 33%
  • Peer Support- 14%

Chart 9 shows a breakdown of the services involved in delivering support to Housing First tenancies. As the number of Housing First participants grows across Scotland, a more detailed breakdown of the ‘other’ category will be provided.

Chart 10: Housing First participants receiving support from multiple support providers.

  • 0 Support Providers- 2%
  • 1 Support Provider- 33%
  • 2 Support Providers- 12%
  • 3 Support Providers- 20%
  • 4 Support Providers- 18%
  • 5 Support Providers- 12%
  • 6+ Support Providers- 4%

Informal support was also provided for 47% of Housing First participants.

Chart 10 provides detail of the number of partners providing Housing First support. In 33% 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.

[1] The ‘step down’ process involves agreement from the tenant and lead support worker that at that time support is no longer required and a regular check-up process is agreed with the tenant so that support can re-commence if required.

[2] Figures have been rounded to the nearest five for disclosure control purposes

Housing First monitoring: Oct-Dec 2021
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