Homeless families with children spending longer in temporary accommodation

Date: 20th February 2017
Category: Social security

Research published by Shelter Scotland has found that time homeless families with children spend in temporary accommodation in Scotland has risen by almost 20 per cent in the past two years.

They found that households with children spent a median time of 20.1 weeks in temporary accommodation (up from 17 weeks in 2014), while households without children had a median of 13.5 weeks in temporary accommodation.

The data report is intended to improve understanding of the use of temporary accommodation in Scotland. It draws on freedom of information requests sent to all local authorities as well as existing statistics and performance information from the Scottish Housing Regulator. Taken together these provide a better, albeit limited, understanding of the experiences of homeless households using temporary accommodation, covering the following questions:

1. How much is temporary accommodation used?
2. How long do people stay in temporary accommodation?
3. What type of temporary accommodation do households stay in?
4. What types of temporary accommodation were offered and refused, and what were the satisfaction levels with temporary accommodation occupied?


  1. Shelter Scotland ask that the Scottish Government officially support guidance on standards in temporary accommodation to ensure that stays in temporary accommodation are a positive stepping stone away from homelessness.
  2. The Scottish Government has pledged to build 50,000 affordable homes over the lifetime of the Parliament. 35,000 of these homes will be for social rent. Shelter Scotland welcomes this development but asks that the focus on housebuilding happens alongside the need to ensure that temporary accommodation is of good standard and is used effectively. This is reflected in Shelter Scotland's Far From Fixed campaign ask of a new national homelessness strategy.


Together's 2016 recommendation regarding temporary accommodation:

Scottish Government should end the use of inappropriate bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families and 16 and 17-year-olds, with action taken against those that continue to house children and families in B&Bs beyond the six-week legal limit. A strengthened requirement for local authorities to commission sufficient alternative emergency facilities should be adopted into law. Any temporary accommodation used for families must be child -friendly, clean and safe.