Statutory homelessness statistics

These statistics are for 'statutory homelessness' only. There has been a divergence in the way each nation gathers and collates statutory homelessness statistics, particularly since devolution in 1999.

English statutory homelessness statistics

UK Government statistics show that, from 2003 to 2009 there was a sharp decline in both the number of households applying to their local authority for homelessness assistance and the number of households being accepted as homeless and in 'priority need' in England.

However, in 2013/14, 111,960 households in England applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance - a rise of 26 per cent on 2009/10.

52,270 (47 per cent) of those households who applied were accepted as homeless and in 'priority need' - a 31 per cent rise since 2009/10.

Of those households accepted in 2013/14:

  • 65 per cent were accepted because they included dependent children
  • 8 per cent because they included a pregnant woman
  • 9 per cent because they included someone vulnerable through mental illness

Welsh statutory homelessness statistics

Welsh Government statistics show the number of homelessness applications and acceptances peaked after a peak in 2004/05. That year, more than 22,500 households applied for assistance and almost 9,900 were accepted as being owed the main homelessness duty, as they were homeless and in 'priority need'.   

In 2013/14, just under 16,000 Welsh households applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance - a 3.2 per cent rise on the previous year and a 11 per cent rise on 2010/11.

32 per cent (5,115) were accepted as being homeless and in 'priority need' - an eleven per cent fall compared to the previous year.  

Of those households accepted in 2013/14:

  • 33 per cent were because they included a dependent child or a pregnant woman
  • 17 per cent were former prisoners with no accommodation to return to
  • 14 per cent were vulnerable due to domestic violence
  • 9 per cent were vulnerable due to mental illness and/or learning disabilities.

Scottish statutory homelessness statistics

Scottish Government statistics show that, in 1996/97, just under 41,000 households in Scotland applied to their local authority for homelessness assistance, with 30,600 accepted as homeless. 17,000 (55 per cent) of those households accepted as homeless were then accepted as being in 'priority need' and so owed the main homelessness duty.

In the years following the number of application rose steadily to 60,700 in 2005/6, with 72 per cent (43,600) accepted as homeless and 75 per cent (32,900) of those deemed to be in 'priority need'.

In 2013/14, there were 36,457 applications, eight per cent lower than the previous year. 29,326 were assessed as homeless.

Of those households accepted as homeless in 2013/14:

  • 27 per cent included dependent children
  • 34 per cent had one or more support need
  • 13 per cent having mental health problems
  • 12 per cent drug or alcohol dependency issues
  • 6 per cent had a medical condition

Ending priority need

The 2003 Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act, made provisions for the distinction between 'priority' and 'non-priority' need to be effectively abolished at the end of 2012. As part of this process, Scottish local authorities have been gradually relaxing or removing their priority need criteria.

Since then the 2003 Act was passed, the proportion of homeless households accepted as being in priority need by their local authority has risen 18 per cent, going from 73 per cent in 2003/4 to 91 per cent in 2011/12. The aim is that 100 per cent of homeless households will be assessed as priority by 31 December 2012

Fewer applications

Another noticeable trend is that, in contrast to England and Wales, the numbers of people applying for homelessness assistance in Scotland has actually declined in the past few yearsThe number of applications in 2013-14 is 40 per cent lower than the peak value seen in 2005-06, when around 61,000 homelessness applications were made.

The Scottish Government suggests this drop is likely to be the result of the adoption of a 'Housing Options' model, as Scottish local authorities focus on prevention.

Homelessness ends here

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