DATA INSIGHTS - Homelessness duration in Scotland: how long does rehousing take?

This Data Insights from ADR Wales researchers explores the length of time that housing support is given to homeless households in Scotland by local authority housing teams.

Rapid Rehousing Approach

ADR Wales researchers, Ian Thomas and Peter Mackie, have worked with the Centre for Homelessness Impact to explore the time taken to rehouse homeless households in Scotland in their new research.

In 2018, the Scottish Government adopted 'Rapid Rehousing' as its default response to homelessness1. Rapid Rehousing aims to help people into permanent accommodation as quickly as possible. This approach recognises that being homeless or in temporary housing can be harmful to people's health and wellbeing. Where homelessness cannot be prevented, it should therefore be as brief as possible.

Since 2018, the 33 local authorities in Scotland have been transitioning to a rapid rehousing approach. Yet, little published data exist on what rapidly rehousing people 'looks like', to benchmark its implementation. What data are available relates to the time taken to close a case for support regardless of outcome. What is already known from analysing data on homeless households is the average time between assessment and case closure in 2019/20 was 224 days.

What does the data tell us?

In this Data Insights, ADR Wales use aggregate data for the 2019/20 period from Scottish Government to explore the length of time between applying for help and an offer of permanent accommodation. They found that less than 1 in 5 homeless households in Scotland were offered permanent accommodation in under 60 days. There was substantial variability between different local authorities, with the median offer of accommodation taking from 62 days up to 779 days.

The research team aim to provide a baseline against which progress of the Rapid Rehousing approach can be measured. This Data Insights will also inform a new evaluation on the impacts of Rapid Rehousing in Scotland being undertaken by ADR Wales researchers in collaboration with the Centre for Homelessness Impact.

Please read the full Data Insights here.

i Glasgow Homelessness Network (2018) Scotland’s transition to rapid rehousing, Rapid rehousing transition plans: Guidance for Local Authorities and Partners. Glasgow: Glasgow Homelessness Network

This article was published on 19 May 2021