The Homelessness Monitor: Scotland 2019

This annual report funded by Crisis and JRF analyses the impact of economic and policy developments on homelessness, drawing on a survey of councils, statistical analysis and in-depth interviews

The Homelessness Monitor: Scotland 2019 shows that:

  • Nearly 29,000 people were found to be legally homeless in Scotland in 2017/18
  • The official numbers of people coming to their council for help with homelessness seem to be declining. However most (8 out of 10) local authority respondents felt that numbers were static or increasing slightly.
  • Rough sleeping appears to be relatively stable over the last three years with the annual number of rough sleepers in 2017 estimated at 5,300 and around 700 sleeping rough on a typical night.
  • There has been a 12% increase in the number of homelessness applications from former social renters over the past three years.
  • A third of local authorities perceive that the ending of private tenancies has been an increasing factor in homelessness, although this is not reflected in official statistics.

Temporary accommodation

  • The numbers in temporary accommodation remain at just under 11,000. Although most temporary accommodation placements are in ordinary social housing, there has been an increase of 12% in the use of B&Bs in the past three years. The number of families in temporary accommodation has increased by 25% in the past three years.

Hidden homelessness

  • There are 236,000 households in Scotland which contain ‘concealed households’, who would live separately if they were able to, or around 10% of Scottish households.
  • In addition, 67,750 households aged 20-34 have been unable to form separate households. The economic crisis and cuts to benefits are likely to be factors in this.

Ending homelessness: everyone’s job

  • The majority (61%) of local authorities said that local Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP) have made little impact in helping local authorities to prevent homelessness.
  • Many local authorities are finding it difficult to access council and housing tenancies to help resolve homelessness. Even more find it difficult to access tenancies in the private rented sector for their homeless clients.

The majority of local authorities expect an increase in homelessness as a result of forthcoming changes to the benefit system

  • Three quarters of local authorities expect the full roll-out of Universal Credit to increase homelessness. 44% felt this impact would be significant.
  • Three quarters felt the new stricter Benefit Cap would lead to an increase in homelessness.
  • The freeze of the rates of other benefits, including Local Housing Allowance, is also expected to have a negative impact on homelessness.