THE number of people made homeless in Scotland last year fell to its lowest in a decade.

However, there were still 23,796 homeless applications to local authorities between April and September.

The figure is a 20% decrease compared with the same period the previous year and it was welcomed as "great news" by Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland.

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However, he warned: "This success should not blind us to the scale of Scotland's ongoing housing crisis.

"Nearly 50,000 people still presented as homeless in the past 12 months so this progress needs to be a catalyst for even greater change."

Reductions were achieved in 28 of Scotland's 32 councils, with Aberdeen and the Borders both recording a fall of 56%.

The Scottish Government has set a target that by the end of this year all unintentionally homeless people will be entitled to settled accommodation.

Housing Minister Keith Brown said: "The dramatic decrease in applications is likely to be a consequence of changes in how local authorities help households who approach them for assistance. Over the past few years councils have been developing services in which staff assist households to consider the range of options available."

Labour housing spokeswoman Elaine Murray said the figures showed that one in 10 Scots unintentionally made homeless was still not being provided with permanent accommodation.