UK homeless deaths rise by more than a third in a year, study finds

Feb 23, 2021 by

by Clea Skopeliti, Guardian:

The Dying Homeless Project reveals nearly 1,000 unhoused people died across the country in 2020.

Deaths among homeless people have risen by more than a third in a year, according to an analysis by a social justice group that found that almost 1,000 unhoused people had died across the UK in 2020.

The Museum of Homelessness (MoH), a community-driven organisation which runs the Dying Homeless Project, called for action to prevent a repeat of such “terrible loss of life”. Among cases where a cause of death was confirmed, 36% were related to drug and alcohol use and 15% were suicide.

Jess Tuttle, the organisation’s co-founder, said the findings demonstrated how the pandemic had hit a system “already cut to the bone from 10 years of austerity”. The MoH is now calling for a national confidential inquiry into homeless deaths.

A total of 976 deaths were recorded across the four nations in 2020: 693 in England and Wales, 176 in Scotland, and 107 in Northern Ireland. There were 710 deaths registered in the 2019 study, the group said.

The steep rise in fatalities comes despite the government’s Everybody In scheme, which was launched at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis to provide safe shelter for thousands of rough sleepers. During the first lockdown, approximately 29,000 people were helped into settled accommodation, with thousands initially housed in budget hotels.

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