FEWER families in Scotland are becoming homeless and fewer children are living in temporary accommodation, according to official statistics.

There were 8007 homelessness applications between October and December 2013, 10% less than the same quarter of 2012.

The number of families living in temporary accommodation has also dropped to its lowest level for five years.

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Families in temporary accommodation fell by 3% during the year from 10,252 to 9963. Of these, 2456 were households with children, 20% lower than in 2012.

Graeme Brown, director of charity Shelter Scotland, said the figures were "good news" testament to the "hard work of teams of local housing officers" across the country.

But he added: "Despite Scotland's progressive legislation on homelessness, it is still too high and we cannot afford to be complacent or lose sight of the fact that 6635 households found themselves homeless in just three months.

"We now wait to see the Scottish Housing Regulator's report into the impact new approaches such as housing options are having on homelessness prevention."

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: "The Scottish Government is committed to supporting people of all ages who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

"We have worked hard with local authorities to develop services in which staff assist households to consider options and address their individual needs in order to help prevent homelessness before it occurs.

"Alongside this we are increasing the supply of affordable housing to ensure settled accommodation is available to households as quickly as possible to reduce time spent in temporary accommodation.

"Today's figures demonstrate that this is working."

Despite raising fears that Westminster's welfare reforms may undermine this progress, she said the Scottish Government was committed to delivering at least 30,000 affordable homes - 20,000 for social rent - during this parliament.