1.1. This statistics bulletin provides information on homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes to 31 March 2014. 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 2014 are presented, together with data on the implementation of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2004.
1.2. The purpose of this web only publication is to give an overview of key trends and features of homelessness in Scotland. As a consequence, the bulletin provides mainly summary tables and charts. More detailed reference tables providing a full suite of detailed tables have also been published on the Scottish Government website.
1.3. In November 2012 the Scottish Parliament approved the Homelessness (Abolition of Priority Need Test) (Scotland) Order 2012. This meets the homelessness commitment and ensures that from 31st December 2012 onwards, local authorities no longer apply the priority need test to homeless households. As a result all unintentionally homeless households in Scotland are entitled to settled accommodation. With the priority need test now abolished, information on this aspect of the homelessness legislation has ceased.
1.4. This publication includes information on the Housing Support Services (Homelessness) (Scotland) Regulations 2012. These regulations were approved by the Scottish Parliament in November 2012, and came into force on 1st June 2013. These regulations place a duty on local authorities to assess the need for housing support services as prescribed in regulations for any applicant the local authority has reason to believe may be in need of housing support services and who is unintentionally homeless or threatened with homelessness. If an assessment of a need for support is made, local authorities must ensure that service is provided to the person who needs it.
1.5. This bulletin also updates previously published figures. There may be delays in some cases being reported to the Scottish Government due to IT issues, quality assurance processes and delayed entry of data - particularly at the end of the financial year. As a result, we estimate that the headline number of applications may change by as much as 1% (around 200 cases for the current financial year) between first and subsequent publications (see Notes on the Statistics).
1.6. Readers may be interested to note that a mandatory data collection on monitoring homelessness prevention and housing options work commenced on 1st April 2014. Subject to the data being of sufficient quality, information from the PREVENT1 data collection is anticipated to be published towards the end of 2014.
A Quick Guide to Homelessness Applications
1.7. There are three stages to a homelessness application. These stages are:
- The Application stage where the household first presents to the council.
- The Assessment stage where the council assesses:
- whether the applicant is homeless;
- if so, whether the applicant made themselves homeless intentionally; and
- if they were unintentionally homeless, and if they have no local connection with the local authority to which they made the application it may test whether they have a local connection with another local authority area.
- The Outcome stage. The type of accommodation the applicant is entitled to depends on the council's assessment decision.
1.8. Applicants are entitled to temporary accommodation, typically:
- whilst they're awaiting an assessment decision;
- whilst waiting for settled accommodation to be found; or,
- if they are intentionally homeless, then they are provided with temporary accommodation and advice and assistance to help them secure alternative accommodation.
1.9. More information on the duty to provide temporary accommodation can be found in the Code of Guidance on Homelessness.
Email: Andrew Waugh or Ian Morton