Operation of the Homeless Persons Legislation in Scotland: 2013-14

This 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 also presented.

2. Main Points

2.1. The main points for the period 1 April - 31 March 2014 (2013-14) are:-


  • There were 36,457 applications. This was 3,593 (8%) lower than the number of applications received in the same period in 2012-13.
  • The number of applications has fallen in 24 out of Scotland's 32 local authorities. Applications increased in Argyll & Bute, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire, Scottish Borders and West Dunbartonshire.
  • The continuing 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.


  • There were 29,326 homeless or threatened with homelessness assessments and this was 2,835 (9%) lower than in 2012-13.
  • The number assessed as intentionally homeless has fallen back slightly, since reaching its highest level during April to June 2013. Although the numbers are small at around 400 per quarter, the number of intentionality decisions had been rising, whilst the number of applications and homeless assessments have both been reducing. However, this may be a consequence of the abolition of the priority need test as all those assessed as homeless are now tested for intentionality. Prior to this, non-priority homeless households would not have been subject to the intentionality test.


  • A total of 24,962 cases were closed during 2013-14. This is 12% lower than in 2012-13 when the figure was 28,440. The number of cases closed has fallen as a result of there being fewer applications overall.
  • For those with a right to settled accommodation, the proportion of unintentionally homeless households securing a local authority, housing association or private let as an outcome has remained stable at around 77% since 2007/08.

Temporary accommodation

At 31 March 2014:-

  • There were 10,281 households in temporary accommodation - a decrease of 190 households (2% decrease) compared to one year earlier.
  • Over the last year, the number of households in temporary accommodation increased in 15 out of 32 local authorities. Notable increases have been seen in Edinburgh (+16%), Aberdeen City (+12%), East Lothian (+6%) and North Lanarkshire (+6%) .
  • There were 2,489 households with children in temporary accommodation - a decrease of 447 households (15% decrease) compared with one year earlier. These households contained a total of 4,156 children, a decrease of 691 children (14% decrease) compared to one year ago.
  • There were 11 households with children in bed & breakfast accommodation - a decrease of six households compared to one year earlier. Four of these households were in West Lothian, three in each of Fife and Aberdeenshire, and one in Moray. The number of households with children in Bed & Breakfast accommodation is now less than a tenth of the March 2008 level (9% of the March 2008 figure).
  • There were no reported breaches of the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2004.


Email: Andrew Waugh or Ian Morton

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