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16/07/13 09:30

Operation of the homeless persons legislation in Scotland 2012-13

A national statistics publication for Scotland

Scotland’s Chief Statistician today released statistics on the operation of the homeless persons legislation in Scotland.

The bulletin provides information on homelessness applications, assessments and outcomes in the period up to 31 March 2013. The release also includes information on households placed in temporary accommodation as a result of a homelessness application and notifications of households at risk of homelessness due to eviction.


* There were 39,827 applications. This was 5,720 (13%) lower than the number of applications received in the same period in 2011-12.
* The number of applications has fallen in 29 out of Scotland’s 32 local authorities. Applications increased in East Renfrewshire, Moray and Scottish Borders councils.
* Although applications have fallen, there was an increase of 75 applications from those presenting due to mortgage default (+16%, 468 applications in 2011/12 and 543 applications in 2012/13). This is the first time this number has increased since 2009/10, when 851 applications due to mortgage default were reported.


* There were 31,964 homeless or threatened with homelessness assessments and this was 3,747 (10%) lower than in 2011-12.
* 30,583 (96%) of applicants assessed as homeless were accorded priority in 2012-13, an increase of 5 percentage points over the same period in 2011-12 .
* The number assessed as intentionally homeless is at its highest level since January-March 2002. Although the numbers are small at around 400 per quarter, the number of intentionality decisions has been increasing, whilst the number of applications and homeless assessments have both been reducing.

Impact of enactment of 2012 homelessness commitment

* In November 2012 the Scottish Parliament approved the Homelessness (Abolition of Priority Need Test) (Scotland) Order 2012 which gave effect to the commitment. From 31st December 2012 the priority need test for homeless households was abolished. As a result, from this date, all unintentionally homeless households are entitled to settled accommodation.
* From 31st December 2012, all local authorities met the 2012 homelessness commitment.


* A total of 28,281 cases were closed during 2012-13. This is 13% lower than in 2011-12. The number of cases closed has fallen as a result of there being fewer applications overall.
* 75% of priority homeless households secured a local authority, housing association or private let as an outcome. This was one percentage point higher than in 2011-12.

Households in temporary accommodation

At 31 March 2013:-
* There were 10,594 households in temporary accommodation – a decrease of 156 households (1% decrease) compared to one year earlier.
* Over the last year, the number of households in temporary accommodation increased in 13 out of 32 local authorities. Notable increases have been seen in Perth & Kinross (+29%), Angus (+14%), East Lothian (+13%), Shetland (+12%) and Edinburgh (+12%).
* There were 2,958 households with children in temporary accommodation – a decrease of 529 households (15% decrease) compared with one year earlier. These households contained a total of 4,884 children, a decrease of 709 children (13% decrease) compared to one year ago.
* The number of households with children in bed & breakfast accommodation in March 2013, at 17 households is slightly lower than a year earlier (a decrease of four). Six of these households were in Fife. The number of households with children in Bed & Breakfast accommodation is now less than a sixth of the March 2008 level (14% of the March 2008 figure).
* A total of four breaches of the Unsuitable Temporary Accommodation Order were reported. Single breaches occurred in Fife, Eilean Siar, Midlothian and Shetland each reporting 1 breach.

Notes to editors

1. The full statistical publication can be accessed on the Homelessness Statistics section of the Scottish Government website at:

2. Further information on Housing and Regeneration statistics within Scotland can be accessed at:

3 National statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of National statistics in Scotland can be accessed at: