Operation of the Homeless Persons Legislation in Scotland: 2011-12

This bulletin provides information on homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes to 31 March 2012. It includes information on the characteristics of applicant households, local authority assessments and the action taken in respect of cases that were concluded. Snapshot data on households in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2012 are presented and notifications of households at risk of homelessness due to eviction/repossession.

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.

Temporary accommodation

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.


Email: Housing Access and Support Statistics

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