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The use of temporary accommodation in Scotland

By: Shelter Scotland
Published: January 2015

The use of temporary accommodation in Scotland

Shelter Scotland analysed existing data supplemented by information gathered through a freedom of information request to all Scottish local authorities, to examine the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland.

Key points:

– 60% of all homeless households spend time in temporary accommodation while the local authority resolves their homeless application.

– On average, households using temporary accommodation stayed there for 18 weeks. However, 1 in 4 households spend over 6 months there, and 1 in 10 spend over a year in temporary accommodation.

– Households with children spend more time in temporary accommodation on average than households without children.

– The pattern of offers of temporary accommodation made to households with and without children is very different.  43% of offers made to households without children are for bed and breakfast accommodation.


– The available data on use of temporary accommodation across Scotland is limited. Shelter Scotland would support the HL3 statistical return from local authorities being made mandatory to allow for a better understanding of the experiences of homeless households using temporary accommodation.

– Shelter Scotland ask that the Scottish Government officially endorse and support non-statutory guidance on standards in temporary accommodation to ensure that stays in temporary accommodation are a positive stepping stone.

– Renewed attention must be given to the provision of more affordable housing in Scotland.