Homeless applications in the north-east have fallen by almost 11% on the year before, new statistics released by the Scottish Government have shown.
Data for the period April 1 to September 30 2020 has shown an insight into how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted homelessness across the country.
In Aberdeenshire, there were 1,039 homeless applications from October 2019 to September 2020, compared to 1,213 in the same period the year before – a drop of 174 applications (around 14%).
Between October and December there was 290 made, from January and March, there were 298 made, 208 between April to June, and 243 from July to September.
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “We have introduced a number of measures to make sure anyone who needs our support during the coronavirus pandemic can do so in a way that meets the Covid-19 restrictions.
“Whilst we are pleased there has been a fall in the numbers of homelessness in Aberdeenshire we aren’t complacent and will continue to do our utmost to help.”
Meanwhile, In Aberdeen, there was a slight increase of 1% recorded for the year from October 2019 to September 2020, compared to the same period last year.
There were 1,520 applications made from October 2019 up until last September, compared to 1,510 in the same time the previous year – an increase of 10 applications (1%).
From October to December 2019 there was 381 applications made. In 2020, there were 368 made between January and March, 413 between April and June, and 358 between July and September.
Aberdeen City Council business manager Councillor Ryan Houghton said: “We have continued to see strong demand for homeless services throughout the pandemic, with family/relationship breakdown being cited as the most common reason.
“We have and continue to develop a number of pathways and housing options for our homeless clients. These include Housing First, Rapid Rehousing and working in partnership with other city-based registered social landlords as well as the private rented sector.
“We also continue to work with third sector organisations and charities to help people who use our homelessness service.”
Across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire combined, 2,113 applications were made between January and September in 2019, falling to 1,888 over the same period in 2020 – a drop of almost 11%.
Across Scotland, 27% of people were asked to leave their accommodation or household and were as a result made homeless between April and September, while 23% of people cited relationships breaking down, or a non-violent dispute within a household.
A further 14% of cases were due to a violent dispute within a household.
Scottish Government housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Since the start of lockdown our priority has been to keep people safe from Covid-19 – and housing people without a settled home in temporary accommodation was a public health imperative to keep people safe.
“Temporary accommodation can offer an important safety net, but it should be a short-term measure – we do not want to see anyone in temporary accommodation for longer than is absolutely necessary.
“We are now providing £30 million to local authorities and working hard to move people into a settled home.
“This is the first set of official homelessness statistics for which coronavirus restrictions were in place for the full reporting period, and the trends can largely be explained by the Scottish Government’s range of actions to keep people safe in the pandemic, such as the introduction of stay at home guidance and our extension of eviction notice periods.
“We remain committed to ending rough sleeping and homelessness and our action plan lays out how we will get there.
“The provision of homes is an important part of that and I am proud we have led the way on affordable housing, having delivered almost 100,000 since 2007, more than 68,000 of which were for social rent.
“Our Housing to 2040 strategy, launched this month, has set a target of delivering another 100,000 by 2032, and we are investing £3.5 billion in housing over the next five years to help support this work.”