Chart 8 shows the outcomes of Housing Options approaches by quarter (also see Table 8a and 8b). Since the beginning of Housing Options in April 2014, the percentage of outcomes in each category has remained relatively stable.
Over the last year, 50% of approaches had the outcome ‘made homelessness application to local authority’. This has risen from 47% of all outcomes during the previous financial year (2017/18).
22% remained in their current accommodation (one percentage point greater when comparing to 2017/18); 13% had an unknown outcome or contact was lost (a decrease of 6 percentage points from 2017/18) and 15% found alternative accommodation (this includes a social rented tenancy (5%), a private rented tenancy (2%), moving in with family and friends (2%) and Other (known) (6%)).
Chart 8: Outcomes of Housing Options approaches by quarter
Different outcomes take different lengths of time to achieve – Chart 9 shows the time it has taken to reach different outcomes since the recording of Housing Options began (April 2014). (see Annex A for explanation ‘How to understand a boxplot)
Chart 9: Distribution of Housing Options approach case durations by outcome, cases closed between 1 April 2014 and 31 March 2019
Closing an approach by making a homelessness application is relatively quick. Half of these outcomes are done in less than one day and only in a quarter of cases does it take more than 21 days to make a homelessness application.
The next quickest outcomes are Remaining in current accommodation and Other (known) – half of these outcomes are achieved in around 35 days and only a quarter take more than 95 days for the former and 93 days for the latter.
Moving in with family and friends takes slightly longer – half of these outcomes are achieved in 37 days, although again around a quarter of these outcomes take over 84 days to achieve.
Achieving an outcome of a private or social rented tenancy takes the longest to time to achieve. Half of private rented tenancies are achieved in 53 days, with a quarter taking more than 112 days. Half of local authority tenancies are achieved in 70 days, with a quarter taking more than 145 days.
Half of lost contacts or not known outcomes occur within around 48 days – a quarter of these outcomes take more than 129 days.
If a household needs to make a homelessness application, this is typically done in one day or less. If advice or assistance can be provided to enable the household to remain in their current accommodation, this may take around 33 days to achieve. Moving in with friends and family takes a similar length of time – on average 35 days. At this point, if a private rented tenancy or social rented tenancy is not available quickly, contact may be lost or the outcome is unknown, and this may occur in 48 days.
Local Authority variation
Over the last year (1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019), Housing Options outcomes vary considerably by Local Authorities (see Table 9 and Chart 10).
In Clackmannanshire 98% of all approaches resulted in a homelessness application being made, whilst this figure is 20% in Orkney. 52% of approaches in North Lanarkshire remained in their current accommodation. For West Dunbartonshire, 43% of approaches found alternative accommodation.
For Orkney and East Lothian, 40% had an outcome of lost contact or not known. In Local Authorities where there are high proportions of lost contacts and unknown outcomes, it is difficult to assess what the Housing Options policy is achieving. Due to the nature of the Housing Options approach a lost contact may not necessarily be a poor outcome, an applicant could access advice which then resolves their issue meaning they do not need to go back to the local authority for further assistance.
For approaches with an outcome of lost contact or not known (during April 2017 to March 2018), Chart 11 shows that although the Scottish median to close approaches with this outcome is around 50 days, some Local Authorities used this outcome much more readily. Clackmannanshire and North Ayrshire closed half of their cases as lost contact/ not known outcomes on the same day as the approach was made. (see Annex A for explanation ‘How to understand a boxplot)
Chart 10: Variation in Housing Options outcomes for each Local Authority, for cases closed between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019
Chart 11: Distribution of the number of days from Housing Options approach to outcome as Lost Contact or Not Known by LA, for cases closed between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019
For the Housing Option approaches which resulted in a homelessness application, there is wide variation (across local authorities) in the number of days it takes to make the homelessness application.
Chart 12 shows that between April 2018 and March 2019, the average time (across all local authorities) to make a homelessness application occurred very quickly (50% of approaches with a homelessness application outcome occurred within 1 day; a quarter of approaches took over 14 days).
Some local authorities take much longer than others for homelessness applications to be made (see Chart 12). Where the average time to make a homelessness application occurs very quickly, for example, in Clackmannanshire and Dumfries and Galloway, a greater proportion of households may be approaching these Local Authorities in crisis and so the alternatives to a homelessness application may be limited. The average time it takes to reach this outcome (making a homelessness application) is much longer for some local authorities. For example, in North Lanarkshire, 50% of these outcomes take over 133 days. Again, this variation highlights the differences in practice and how Housing Options is used by different Local Authorities and recorded. (see Annex A for explanation ‘How to understand a boxplot)
Chart 12: Distribution of the number of days to make a homelessness application from initial Housing Options approach, for cases closed between 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019