Housing minister Kevin Stewart has admitted the Scottish Government still has "further to go" in tackling homelessness after new figures showed the biggest increase since the SNP came to power.

Official statistics showed homeless applications in Scotland rose to 100 a day last year.

Councils received 36,500 applications for homelessness assistance in 2018/19, a three per cent rise on the previous year, with an extra 180 children in temporary accommodation.

The figures appeared to confirm the situation is worsening, making the second increase in homeless applications in as many years after almost a decade of falling numbers.

READ MORE: Gordon MacRae of Shelter Scotland: We can't just react when people become homeless - we need to prevent it happening 

Shelter Scotland said the statistics showed the country faces a “housing emergency” and everyone in Scotland needed to consider whether they were prepared to tolerate its "devastating impact".

The figures also show some housing departments are breaking the law. Despite a duty on councils to provide temporary accommodation, there were 3,535 cases where applicants were not offered this, a 10% rise on the previous year.

Glasgow City Council, which announced a £2.6m cut to homeless services last month, accounted for 95 per cent of all temporary accommodation refusals. The Scottish Government said it was “concerned” at the failure to meet the statutory duty, and had agreed a “voluntary review” with Glasgow to tackle the issue.

Gordon MacRae, head of communications and policy at Shelter Scotland, said: “These statistics expose the devastating impact Scotland’s housing emergency is having on people’s lives. This is the human cost of our collective failure to build the homes we need. On an industrial scale, thousands of men, women and children are being denied their most basic right to a safe home.

“While we wholeheartedly welcome the progress the Scottish Government has made on building 50,000 affordable homes, 35,000 for social rent by 2021. New Scottish Government-led initiatives like rapid re-housing will take time to bed in, but these only deal with the terrible consequences of becoming homeless, they do not address stopping homelessness by preventing it in the first place.

“Every 17.5 minutes a household was made homeless in Scotland last year with 29,894 households assessed as homeless – up 2 per cent on last year. b People are having to stay longer in temporary accommodation with their lives in limbo. The question every citizen of Scotland must ask ourselves is how much longer are we prepared to tolerate this.”

READ MORE: Homeless applications rise to 100 a day in Scotland 

Scottish Labour said the figures were disgraceful and revealed a lack of long-term planning from the Government. Its Housing Spokesperson Pauline McNeill said: "Having just one person homeless in the 21st century Scotland is unacceptable – but to see homelessness on the rise once again is an utter disgrace.

“These numbers show that the impact of continued austerity from the Westminster and Holyrood governments is having real impact on real people’s lives and more must be done to halt the blight of homelessness in Scotland.

“It took the SNP over ten years to focus on homelessness and as yet their plans are having little impact on people at the sharp end of poverty. We need to see more investment in social housing, frontline services and prevention made a top priority as a matter of urgency."

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said there is increasing evidence UK Government welfare cuts are contributing to homelessness.

“ We are spending more than £125 million this year to mitigate against the worst impacts and protect those on low incomes, including £62 million in Discretionary Housing Payments," he said.

“We want to make sure that anyone facing homelessness is supported into permanent, settled accommodation that meets their needs as quickly as possible. The latest statistics show a significant increase in households securing settled accommodation, but we have further to go.

“There are multiple, complex reasons why people sleep rough – many have experienced drug or alcohol addiction problems or suffer from poor mental health and require specialist support, in addition to a home, to tackle these issues." He providing people with a permanent home was the best way to give them a stable platform to being to rebuild their lives.

“That’s why we’ve invested £23.5 million to support the transition to Rapid Rehousing and Housing First," he said. “While we recognise that temporary accommodation provides an important safety net in emergency situations, we are clear such arrangements must be for as short a time as possible and be of good quality.

Meanwhile, he said local authorities had a legal duty to provide temporary accommodation. "We are concerned to understand why the data suggests that this is not always happening." He said Glasgow City Council, where there was a particular issue, had agreed to a voluntary review to find out why.