Homeless deaths ‘increase by 24% over five years’ in UK

Homeless deaths ‘increase by 24% over five years’ in UK

Deaths of homeless people have increased by nearly a quarter over five years to almost 600, according to official estimates.

Deaths of rough sleepers and those in emergency accommodation rose from 482 in 2013 to 597 last year across England and Wales, according to the first Office for National Statistics (ONS) research of its kind.

Life expectancy for the homeless is nearly half that for people in stable housing, with homeless men and women dying on average at the age of 44.

London and the North West of England had the highest mortality rates, while in England and Wales last year more than half of homeless deaths were due to drug poisoning, liver disease or suicide.

The statistics came a day after MPs were told about the death of a homeless man, a 43-year-old known as Gyula Remes, who was found outside the Houses of Parliament.

He was the second homeless man known to have died beside the Palace of Westminster this year, but the fresh statistics show the scale of such deaths across the nation.

London was the worst hit last year with more than a fifth of the estimated deaths, at 136, while the North West had 119.

Government figures released last week showed the number of households living in temporary accommodation in England had risen by 5% in a year to 82,310.

Data previously showed the number of people officially recorded as sleeping on the streets of England rose from 1,768 in 2010 to 4,751 in 2017, but charities warned the true figure could be more than double this.

Work on the latest ONS figures was prompted by research from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in October, which found at least 449 homeless people had died in the UK in the previous 12 months.

- Press Association

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