In 2018, the Scottish Government  adopted ‘Rapid Rehousing‘ as its default response to homelessness. Rapid Rehousing aims to help people into permanent accommodation as quickly as possible,  recognising that being homeless or in temporary housing can be harmful to people’s health and wellbeing. This approach was formulated with the understanding that, where homelessness cannot be prevented, it should be as brief as possible.

Since 2018, the 33 local authorities in Scotland have been transitioning to Rapid Rehousing , yet little published data exists on what rapidly rehousing people ‘looks like’, to benchmark its implementation. What data is 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.

In our latest Data Insight, we 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. We found that less than one in five 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 to 779 days.

We aim to provide a baseline against which progress of the Rapid Rehousing approach can be measured. This Data Insight 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.