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Topic briefing: Time in Temporary Accommodation: 2019 update

By: Shelter Scotland  Published: November 2019

This is an update of our 2018 briefing looking at households' experiences of temporary accommodation in Scotland, using statistics from the Scottish Government and real stories from Shelter Scotland clients.



  • Thousands of households in Scotland are stuck in temporary accommodation for months on end.
  • Prolonged stays in temporary accommodation are harmful to people’s health and wellbeing, particularly children’s.
  • On average, households spent 180 days (about 6 months) in temporary accommodation in 2018/19.
  • 14% of households (nearly 3,000 households) spent more than a year in temporary accommodation.
  • Households with children tend to spend longer in temporary accommodation than households without children: 219 days on average.
  • The length of time households are spending in temporary accommodation is increasing for most household types.
  • There has been a 57% rise in breaches of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order over the past year, with local authorities reporting 620 breaches in 2018/19.
  • New, legally enforceable standards are necessary to ensure that temporary accommodation, where it is necessary, provides a positive stepping stone into permanent accommodation.