Homelessness statistics Scotland - Crisis response

Response to Homelessness in Scotland: Bi-annual update to 30 September 2020

 Key stats:

  • In the period April - September 2020, there were 16,997 homelessness applications (10% decrease on the same period last year). 13,645 were assessed and accepted as homeless (a 14% decline from last year). This trend in part reflects the Covid-19 restrictions during this period whereby households were less likely to seek support alongside the temporary extension for eviction notices.
  • As of the 30 September 2020, 14,151 households were in temporary accommodation - a 24% rise on the same period last year (including a 99% rise of B&B use). This reflects the move to ensure everyone who needed it could access self-contained accommodation to self-isolate.
  • Drivers of homelessness during April - September 2020 reflected increasing household pressure with 27% of applicants having been asked to leave accommodation (up from 24% the previous year), a further 23% had to leave because of a dispute and/or relationship breakdown (increasing from 18% last year). 
  • There was a 4% rise in number of households where one applicant (859 or 5% of applications) had slept rough the night before making an application during April - September 2020.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said: “At the start of the pandemic our priority was supporting people off the streets and ensuring they had safe, self-contained accommodation. There is no doubt that extraordinary action by national and local government, as well as homelessness services, saved lives from both coronavirus and the cold, but these interventions are short-term solutions.

“We’ve seen extraordinary progress in ending rough sleeping in Scotland. This has led to record numbers of people living in temporary accommodation, with many people being left without access to proper laundry or cooking facilities. We now need to see action to ensure these people are supported quickly into safe and settled homes.

“We’ve also seen a rise in the number of people becoming homeless after being asked to leave home, or following household disputes. It is vital that anyone at risk of losing their home can access support and advice early, to help them avoid losing their homes and having to make decisions at a point of crisis.

“The best way to end homelessness is to prevent it happening in the first place. That’s why we are calling on all parties to make preventing and ending homelessness a national priority ahead of the election.”