94% of homeless are in housing accommodation and not rough-sleeping

I won’t be using an exploitative image of a sad child here, as BBC Scotland have.

Yesterday, they were keen to tell us:

The number of people classed as homeless in Scotland hit an all-time high last year, according to the latest figures.

There were 28,944 open homelessness cases in September 2022 – the highest since Scottish government records began in 2002.

The figures were an 11% rise on the previous year.

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said the statistics were unacceptable and concerning.

She said the Scottish government had commissioned an action plan to tackle the problem.

The Scottish Conservatives called the statistics “utterly disgraceful” and Labour said they were shameful figures that laidbare the reality of Scotland’s growing housing crisis.


Further down the page, they do tell us:

Most of the people classified as homeless are not rough sleepers.

In fact, just 1,644 of Scotland’s 28,944 homelessness applicants reported rough-sleeping in 2022.

Instead, the majority reside in “temporary accommodation” – properties provided by councils to families as the local authorities process their homelessness application.

But no percentages of course of the kind in my headline.

Equally, they won’t be reminding us of this from November 2022:

Throughout last year [2021] Glasgow had less than 10 people sleeping rough on the streets, often as low as 4 at any one time with the street team and partners actively working to prevent 30 people a week from having to sleep outdoors. That is still 4 too many and we are working hard to find the right solution to each and every one of them. However there is no European City that has achieved such low numbers. 

We recognise that photographs of large numbers of people attending food banks in Glasgow would suggest the streets are full of people sleeping on the streets. We also support over 60 people on the streets who beg, however not all people who beg are roofless and not all people who are roofless beg.


or this from September 2021:


8 thoughts on “94% of homeless are in housing accommodation and not rough-sleeping

  1. With regard to ‘rough sleepers’ some of the few who continue to sleep rough despite there being accommodation do so by ‘choice’. I do not mean this derogatorily. Sometimes they have issues and grievances with others in similar circumstances as themselves and fear for their safety. Others find it difficult to comply with even the most minimal of routines which communal accommodation has to have in order to function. And, alas, some have pretty serious long term mental and emotional issues.

    There are many kind and compassionate people, often volunteers, who devote long hours walking the streets and making contact with homeless people trying to persuade them to engage with services.

    The main cause, of course, is the nasty neoliberal, anti public service austerity which this appallingly corrupt UK government has enacted. I have lived through Tory Governments since Churchill was PM and I have not been a fan. However, many of the MPs had a sense of what a community entailed and had a degree of compassion and humanity, but since Cameron in 2010 it has become nastier and nastier through May, Truss, Johnson and now Sunak, who is out of his depth. The state is crumbling and is wilfully crumbling because they see a weak state as being unable to mediate between the wealthy few and the rest of us.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The Scottish Gov is funding more Drug and alcohol services £250Million over five years. There is a need for proper ‘total abstinence ‘ rehab facilities. Not Councils putting people on methadone for years. Just as bad as heroin,instead of funding proper rehab facilities and counselling. The people could get a job and not end up homeless or in temporary accomadation. Or even on the streets.

    Women who cohabit (the majority) do not have equal rights. They do not get legal aid and can be in abusive situations. Letting agencies illegally demand six months upfront rent and deposit. Women and children can lose the roof over their head and end up in temporary accommodation or in abusive situations.

    The Scottish Gov is building 6,000 affordable houses a year. 58,000 people die in Scotland a year. Private builders were building 17,000 houses a year. The house
    building programme has been held up by Covid. Brexit has made all Building material twice as expensive, putting up building costs. House prices are said to be falling, because of the cost of living crisis and mortgage rates going up. Inflation is causing a lot of stress and a burden on living standards.

    It is claimed Scotland has enough houses but not in places people need to live to access work and family. People with mental health issues and diversity need support. To cop with the stress of life and manage anxiety in supported accomodation. Divorce and separation can put a strain temporary accomodationl .


  3. Covid would have held up 23,000+ homes, a year, being built in Scotland. Over two years? Now building material is twice as expensive. Brexit.Building will be twice as expensive to build. The Tory total mismanagement and corruption. Wasting £Billions. Now fanning the fire of conflict in Europe. Death and destruction. Breaking International agreements.


  4. Apologies for the size of this post, from gov.uk in Nov 2022, but it contains a number of things of interest –

    “Many new homeless accommodations were arranged to protect people during the COVID-19 pandemic. This has increased the methodological gap that existed between the England and Wales statistics and the Scotland statistics.

    Three days into the first national lockdown, the UK Government wrote to local authority leaders in England asking them to ensure that homeless people were safely accommodated to guard them from the risks of contracting and spreading COVID-19. This included inviting homeless people to stay in hotels around the country. This scheme was known as the “Everyone In” scheme.

    Similar schemes were used in Wales and Northern Ireland. [***No new policy was needed in Scotland because all homeless people already had the right to temporary accommodation, regardless of priority need.***]

    [***Scotland’s methodology accounts for all their homeless accommodations. This means that it accounts for the full increased use of temporary accommodation during the pandemic.***] The methodology for England cannot do so because the new homeless accommodations used in the “Everyone In” scheme are not discoverable through ONS web-scraping. Although the new accommodations are discoverable for Wales, they were also used for other purposes, such as providing healthcare workers with another place to stay if they lived with clinically vulnerable people. [***This means that it is impossible to identify who was homeless in these accommodations, and so they are excluded from ONS analysis.***]

    The difference in methods used to identify homeless deaths, were affected by policies during the COVID-19 pandemic and may have contributed to differences in death rates across the UK. This is in addition to the effect of legislative differences, as [***there are fewer criteria in Scotland for statutory homelessness applicants to qualify for temporary accommodation***]. So, although published homeless death rates appear higher in Scotland than in England and Wales in each year where data are available, the data should not truly be compared. [***It is likely that the different methods have led to the higher estimate in Scotland.***]”


    I’ve used [*** ***] to highlight the useful points which should be understood by anyone looking into homelessness. If its worthy of publication on a UK Gov website, it’s surely worth noting by our chums at BBC Scotland. As if!!!


  5. I should have added this, from the same UK Gov report –

    “While this description of the methodologies is consistent for England and Wales and for Scotland, there is a difference in how their lists of known homeless accommodations are compiled. ONS updates their homeless accommodation lists for England and Wales by searching information that is publicly available online. NRS requests their lists each year, from each local authority in Scotland individually.

    Because there are only 32 local authorities in Scotland, it is more manageable to speak to them individually to collect information. This contact also allows NRS to check their identified homeless deaths with those councils, who can verify them case by case. There are over 350 local authorities in England and Wales, so it is impractical for ONS to contact them all individually.”

    So Scotland is on top again (no surprise!) – because the ONS, because the mighty ONS can’t cope with the size of England and Wales – which you’d think it was equipped to cope with?


  6. Are the figures for households or people. Household figures would be lower. Appropriate 9,000 households. 9,000 houses needed. There are empty houses that could be renovated. Without much bother.


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