Homelessness statistics, April to September 2021

From: Scottish Government
Published: Tue Feb 01 2022

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Scotland's Chief Statistician today released Homelessness Statistics for the period 1 April to 30 September 2021.

Over that period:

  • There were 17,447 applications for homelessness assistance. This is an increase of 2% (278) compared with the same six-month period in 2020, and a decrease of 8% (1,466) compared with the same period in 2019.
  • There were 17,372 assessments made, with 14,161 (82%) being assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness. This was an increase of 3% (348) on the same six-month period in 2020, and a decrease of 11% (1,714) on the same period in 2019.
  • Conversely there was a reduction in the number of open cases, which was 26,001 on 30 September 2021, a 4% decrease compared with the 27,037 on 30 September 2020, when open cases were at their peak.
  • There were 13,192 households in temporary accommodation on 30 September 2021. This was a 7% decrease compared with the peak of 14,151 on 30 September 2020, but an increase of 1% compared with the figure on 31 March 2021.
  • In 34% of all cases reported, household disputes were given as a reason for homelessness. This is a decrease from 38% in the same six-month period in 2020, but remains higher than the 31% in the same period in 2019. The proportion of people becoming homeless after fleeing domestic abuse was 5%, having risen from 4% compared with the same six-month period in 2020 and stayed broadly the same over the same period in the year before. The same is true for harassment, which increased from 2% to 3% in 2021, having stayed at a similar level in 2019.
  • There was an increase in the number of households becoming homeless from a private rented tenancy - 14% of homeless households between 1 April to 30 September 2021, compared with 10% in the same period in 2020, but lower than 17% in the same period in 2019.
  • There were 1,078 applications that reported a household member experiencing rough sleeping in the three months before the application was made, and 690 the night before. These remain lower than pre-pandemic figures (1,415 and 825 respectively in 2019). However, there have been recent increases in reported rough sleeping. The number of households were someone had slept rough in the three months before the application rose from 509 in April to June 2021 to 569 in July to September 2021. The number of those who had slept rough the night before increased from 294 in January to March 2021 to 363 in July to September 2021.
  • The proportion of households who secured settled accommodation having been assessed as unintentionally homeless increased from 78% to 82%.


The full statistical publication is available.

The Homelessness in Scotland: Update to 30 September 2021 publication provides an indication of trends for key aspects of homelessness including applications, assessments, use of temporary accommodation and outcomes in the period from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably interrupted trends in homelessness and resulted in larger than usual changes between years. The changes between 2020 and 2021 are therefore not necessarily an indication of a departure in trends compared to last year, but rather a return to those more in line with what was experienced pre-pandemic. For that reason, the publication focuses on comparisons with the similar 6 month periods for both 2020 and 2019.

Where households housed by local authorities in response to the pandemic have a formal homelessness application to a local authority and/or have a temporary accommodation placement recorded on management information systems, they will be included in the statistics.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff - more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland is available.

Company: Scottish Government

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