Homelessness from private rental tenancies across Scotland fell by more than 40% last year amid greater coronavirus protections, official statistics show.
New Scottish Government figures show a drop of 2161 from 5145 to 2984, which represents a 42% drop.
Holyrood introduced a nationwide ban on evictions at the start of the outbreak as part of emergency coronavirus measures.
This continued until January, although sheriff officers still cannot remove anyone in a level three or four restrictions tier unless under strict circumstances.
Housing secretary Shona Robison said: “Throughout the pandemic, the Scottish Government’s priority has been to keep people safe from coronavirus.
“We introduced protections to prevent evictions, which have contributed to a 42% reduction in homelessness applications from the private rented sector.
“As recently as last week we announced a £10m grant fund to support tenants who are struggling as a direct result of the pandemic.
“We also saw a huge effort by partners to work collectively and move hundreds of people from the streets and night shelters into a place of safety.
“The number of people sleeping rough in the areas where it was concentrated is now at a record low.
“Although this has contributed to an increase in the numbers in temporary accommodation, our utmost objective now is to step up our work with councils to ensure people are supported into permanent settled accommodation.”
The figures show there were 33,792 applications for homelessness assistance in 2020/21 – a decrease of 3251 from the previous year.
The most common reasons for making an application were being “asked to leave” at 27%, a “dispute within the household” involving non-violent relationship issues at 22%, as well as violent or abuse within a home, at 14%.
There were 27,571 households assessed as homeless or threatened with homelessness – a drop of 4010.
Scotland also saw a reduction in the number of cases closed.
This saw the number of open homelessness cases at March 31 reach 25,226, a 10% increase on March 31, 2020.
This peaked at 27,058 as at September 30.
Scottish Labour housing spokesperson Mark Griffin said: “These stark figures should act as a wake-up call.
“Every year families are forced to spend more and more time in temporary accommodation, waiting for the safe, secure housing we all deserve.
“This is before we have even felt the full effects of the pandemic. If we do not act now the worst might still be to come.
“The SNP’s refusal to extend the evictions ban to all levels has created a ticking time bomb of homelessness.
“We urgently need a plan to get people into their own homes, without relying on temporary accommodation.”
Scottish Conservative local government spokesman Miles Briggs said that SNP have “failed to deliver”.
“These are incredibly disheartening figures, reporting an all-time high in the number of households in temporary accommodation,” he said.
“These numbers show that the average length of stay in temporary housing was the longest in at least four years. Before the SNP came to power, it took 123 days to close homelessness applications; today, it takes 248 days.”
Briggs added: “Despite having 14 years to act, SNP Ministers have failed to deliver, leaving thousands of households in despair.
“This national disgrace must be addressed immediately as they have a moral obligation to support those in urgent need.”
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