Homelessness Data Guidance and Analyses
This page contains:
- the latest homelessness publications and reference tables.
- the homelessness data we collect and how we analyse it
- further information for users and data providers of homelessness statistics
- Ad hoc analyses of homelessness data
Publications and Reference tables
Past publications have been archived and may be accessed here. Further homelessness tables are available on request; contact details below.
Guidance on the Use and Interpretation of Homelessness Statistics
There are two main sources of regular statistics on homelessness in Scotland, both of which draw on information from councils' administration of applications for homelessness assistance.
Information provided in the HL1 system is the basis of all key statistics on trends in applications, assessments and outcomes; and of the analyses of the characteristics of homeless applicants, reasons for homelessness and outcomes for different groups. The HL1 system is the source of information used to track and report on the Scotland Performs Indicator on the proportion of homeless applications accorded priority status.
Following a period of consultation with local authorities, voluntary bodies and other interested parties, the revised HL1 data collection was introduced on 1 April 2007, taking into account recent changes in legislation and other information needs.
- The HL1 return is stored in the Governments homelessness electronic system which gathers details on the progress of each application for assistance.
Guidance for completion of the HL1 return can be found on the homelessness data provider site.
Information provided in the HL2 return is the basis of all statistics on numbers of households in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter. In particular it provides information on the number of households in different types of temporary accommodation, separately for households with children or a household member pregnant and the number of dependent children in these households is also recorded. The HL2 also records the number of households in unsuitable accommodation (as defined in the Homeless Persons (Unsuitable Accommodation) (Scotland) Order 2004) and the number of breaches of the Order at the end of each quarter.
Revisions to HL2
The HL2 return was revised in April 2009 to include the number of notifications under section 11 of the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003 by social landlords, private landlords and creditors to Local Authorities during the quarter. Further information is outlined below.
- The HL2 summary return where councils supply a summary count of numbers of applications and cases closed during the quarter along with households in temporary accommodation at the end of each quarter. Up to 31 March 2009 only.
- The HL2 return was amended in April 2009 to include the number of notifications (under section 11 of the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003) from social landlords, private landlords and creditors to Local Authorities during the quarter. From 30 June 2009.
- CURRENT: A revised HL2 return was made available to gather statistics on the number of households in non-permanent accommodation under new regulations. From 31 March 2011 onwards.
Interpreting Analyses from the HL1 electronic system
Stages of an application
In interpreting analyses from the HL1 system it is important to understand how we gather the information. It can take a significant amount of time for councils to resolve a homelessness application. Councils therefore provide updated information on each application at 3 key points in the application process. The table below gives a brief summary of the information gathered at each stage. The links in the table take you to the questions on the HL1 showing what information is available at that stage of the process.
| Stage of Application || Information gathered |
| Application stage(Q1-Q16c) : When the application is made || Application details: Household characteristics, applicants circumstances for applying. |
| Assessment stage(Q17-Q20d) : When the application has been assessed || Assessment Details: Reasons for assessment, support needs identified, local connection with LA or other LA established. |
| Outcome stage (Q21-Q27) : When the council has discharged its duty || Housing Outcome: Offers made to applicants: Final Rehousing outcome, accommodation occupied between application date and outcome. |
How is this information then sent to the government?
Each quarter Local Authorities send electronic extracts containing all cases that have either applied during the quarter or moved through one of the above stages. This information, once received and validated means the database then has full information on:
- All applications received up to the end of the quarter.
- All assessments made up to the end of the quarter.
- All cases closed up to the end of the quarter.
The reference tables
To reflect this flow of information as cases progress and to produce tables which are as complete as possible we mainly publish quarterly or annual analyses as follows:
- Applications and characteristics of applicant households are on the basis of the number of applications in the period analysed.
- Assessments and reasons for priority assessment are on the basis of all cases assessed during the period analysed.
- Housing outcomes and information on accommodation occupied during the application are on the basis of all cases closed during the period.
Changes to the HL1 over the years
| Period of time form in use || Key features of data collection |
| 1992-93 to 2001-02 || Data supplied on paper forms after the application was concluded. Limited set of data collected for each application. Pro-formas not completed for all applications. |
| 2002-03 to 2006-07 || Electronic data capture introduced. Wider range of information collected. Allowed recording of households and repeat analyses. Full coverage of all applications. |
| 2007-08 to present || Significant revisions to HL1. Greater detail on application circumstances and reasons for application. Support needs and prevention measures recorded. |
We welcome your views on this web page and any further homelessness statistics can be provided on request:
Duncan Gray: 0131 244 7235
Andrew Waugh: 0131 244 7232
Housing Access and Support Statistics
Communities Analytical Services