2. Main Points
2.1. The main points for the period 1 April - 31 March 2012 (2011-12) are:-
- There were 45,322 applications, 19% lower than the number of applications received in the same period in 2010-11.
- The number of applications has fallen in 30 out of Scotland's 32 local authorities. Applications increased in South Ayrshire Council and Midlothian Council.
- The fall in applications is mainly due to the impact of housing options/ homelessness prevention strategies adopted by most councils over the past few years rather than to changes in the underlying drivers of homelessness. Section 3 provides more background.
- There were 35,515 homeless or threatened with homelessness assessments and this was 15% lower than in 2010-11.
- 91% of applicants assessed as homeless were accorded priority in 2011-12, an increase of three percentage points over the same period in 2010-111
- The increase in the percentage assessed as priority reflects the impact of policies set by councils as they have implemented plans to achieve the 2012 homelessness commitment. Section 4 provides more background.
- Between 1 January and 31 March 2012:
- In fourteen council areas 100% of homeless assessments were assessed as having a priority need. In a further nine council areas, over 90% of homeless assessments were assessed as having a priority need.
- Two local authorities assessed less than 70% of homeless assessments as having a priority need.
- A total of 47,748 cases were closed during 2011-12. This is 14% lower than in 2010-11. The number of cases closed has fallen as a result of there being fewer applications overall. This reduction is less than the 19% reduction seen for applications as there is a time lag between cases being opened and cases being closed.
- 73% of priority homeless households secured a local authority, housing association or private let as an outcome. This is unchanged from 2010-11.
At 31 March 2012:-
- there were 10,743 households in temporary accommodation - a decrease of 571 households (-5%) compared to one year earlier.
- there were 3,484 households with children in temporary accommodation - a decrease of 349 households (-9%) compared with one year earlier. These households contained a total of 5,588 children, a decrease of 476 children (-8%) compared to one year ago.
- The number of households with children in bed & breakfast accommodation in March has fallen in each year since March 2008 and, at 21 households, is now less than a fifth of the March 2008 level (82% below March 2008).
- A total of 8 breaches of the Unsuitable Temporary Accommodation Order were reported. These breaches occurred in Midlothian (2) and Fife (6).
Households at risk of homelessness due to eviction: notifications under section 11 of the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003
For the period 1 January to 31 March 2012:-
- Notifications from creditors intending to start repossession proceedings against homeowners which had been at around 2,000 per quarter in 2009 and 2010 increased to over 4,000 in Jan-March 2011 and have remained at around 4,000 since then.
- Notifications from housing associations have increased by 104 (+9%) and from private landlords by 49 (+55%). However, there has been no corresponding increase in homelessness from housing associations or from private landlords - indeed we have seen a reduction in applications from both sectors.
- The high level of notifications from creditors might be expected to lead to an increase in homelessness because of repossession of owner occupiers' properties. However during 2011-12 applications from owner occupiers citing mortgage default as the reason for their homelessness was 39% lower than in the same period in 2010-11.
- More discussion of the issues surrounding section 11 notifications are given in this publication.
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