Latest homelessness statistics

APPLICATIONS for ‘homelessness assistance’ fell by almost ten per cent between 2019/20 and 2020/21.

But, say statistics issued by the Scottish Government’s chief statistician, over the same timeframe there was a 12 per cent increase in the number of Scottish households considered to be living in ‘temporary accommodation’.

In an announcement, here, by the Scottish Government, the annual update on homelessness statistics found:

  • There were 33,792 applications for homelessness assistance – a decrease of 3,251 (nine per cent) compared with 2019/20;
  • There were 27,571 households assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness – a decrease of 4,010 (13 per cent) compared to 2019/20;
  • While the number of applications fell, there was also a reduction in the number of cases closed. As a result, the number of open homelessness cases at 31 March 2021 reached 25,226, a ten per cent increase compared to 31 March 2020. This peaked at 27,058 as at 30 September 2020;
  • There were 13,097 households in temporary accommodation at 31 March 2021 – a 12 per cent increase compared to 11,665 at 31 March 2020. This reached a peak of 14,151 at 30 September 2020;
  • The most common reasons for making an application were ‘Asked to leave’ (27 per cent vs 24 per cent the previous year), ‘Dispute within the household / relationship: non-violent (22 per cent vs 19 per cent the previous year) and ‘Dispute within the household: violent or abusive’ (14 per cent vs 13 per cent the previous year);
  • There was a decrease in households becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy – a drop of 2,161 (42 per cent) from 5,145 to 2,984. 11 per cent of households assessed as homeless in this period gave this as their previous accommodation type, compared to 16 per cent in the same period in 2020. Says the Scottish Government: “This may be due to a reduction in the number of evictions due to emergency coronavirus legislation temporarily extending eviction notice periods.”;
  • There was a 44 per cent reduction in households assessed as homeless in Edinburgh in 2020/21 compared to 2019/20, from 3,402 to 1,912. Again, says the Scottish Government: “This was largely due to a 67 per cent reduction from a private rented tenancy (264 in 2020/21 compared to 802 in 2019/20) compared to 42 per cent nationally.” In addition, Edinburgh also experienced a decrease of those becoming homeless from either ‘parental / family home / relatives’ or ‘friends / partners’ of 35 per cent (from 1,532 to 1,002) compared to a national increase of seven per cent;
  • Homelessness applications that closed in 2020/21 that used temporary accommodation spent 199 days in temporary accommodation on average. This increased from 187 days the previous year;
  • There were 605 cases of households not being offered temporary accommodation in 2020/21 – a fall of 87 per cent (from 4,590) compared to last year. 525 of these were in Edinburgh;
  • 80 per cent of homeless households (18,313 out of 22,967) secured settled accommodation in 2020/21, increasing from 64 per cent in 2002/03, and a drop from 83 per cent last year;
  • It took 248 days on average from assessment to closure in 2020/21 for cases assessed as homeless – an increase from 225 in 2019/20; and
  • 58 per cent of main applicants were male; 62 per cent were aged 25-49; 70 per cent were single person households; and 87 per cent were of White ethnicity.

Picture credit: Place Design Scotland