Figures suggest one homeless person dies every 19 hours

14 Aug 19

An average of one homeless person died every 19 hours in the last six months in the UK, research has found.

At least 235 people, aged between 16 and 104 years old, who were homeless died between January and June 2019, according to research by the Museum of Homelessness charity.

The charity has been collecting homelessness data since April 2019 and holds further data from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from 2017.

From these statistics, the charity found that more than 30% of fatalities since 2017 have occurred were people were in emergency or temporary accommodation.

The charity suggested that more needs to be done to tackle homelessness, over and above the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act last year.

It also noted that even when in temporary accommodation, homeless people are not always safe and pointed to examples of a person being murdered in a homeless encampment this year.

Matt Turtle MoH co-founder said: “People affected by homelessness continue to die at a shocking rate despite the passage of the homelessness reduction act nearly 18 months ago.

“We regularly hear from people who feel they’re safer on the streets than in hostels and this data shows why.

“People are placed in inadequate, unsafe accommodation, whether badly run hostels or other forms of private rented accommodation, with all to often fatal consequences.”

Chris Wood, head of policy at Shelter, said: “Today’s figures and stories are heart-breaking evidence of how the housing crisis destroys lives.

“Appalling levels of homelessness across the country should shame us all, but the fact that so many people die in such awful conditions – including teenagers and the elderly – is a national scandal.

“The new government needs to increase housing benefit so it covers the true cost of renting, and tackle the root cause of the housing crisis by investing in 3 million more social homes over the next 20 years."

A Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government spokesperson said: “It is simply unacceptable that any life should be cut short due to homelessness.

“This government is committed to ensuring everyone has a safe place to live. Councils are responsible for helping people at risk of being homeless so they can get the safety and support they need.”

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