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ONS show highest year-on-year increase in homeless deaths

NOVEMBER 06, 2019

In 2018, there were an estimated 726 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales, 129 (22%) more deaths than in 2017 when there were 597 estimated deaths. The increase is statistically significant and represents the largest year-to-year increase in estimated deaths since the time series began in 2013.  

Males accounted for the larger proportion of deaths: 641 (88%) deaths compared with 85 (12%) female deaths. Among men, the highest proportion and number of deaths were observed among 45- to 49-year olds (117 deaths; 18% of all male deaths). Females aged 35 to 39 years had the highest number of deaths (16). Because of small overall numbers, females aged 40 to 44 years and 45 to 49 years also had similar numbers of deaths (both had 13 deaths in 2018).

Estimated number of deaths among homeless people has increased by 51% over the last six years - Deaths of homeless people (identified cases and estimated number) registered in 2013 to 2018

The mean age at death for identified homeless cases was 45 years for males and 43 years for females. In the general population of England and Wales in 2018, the mean age at death was 76 years for men and 81 years for women.

These figures provide a stark picture of how funding cuts have devastated crucial services supporting people who are homeless. Austerity’s punishing cuts to council budgets have left increasing numbers of people at risk on the streets and homeless and council spending on support for single homeless people in England fell by 53% between 2008-9 and 2017-18.

Local authorities in England are now spending almost £1bn less a year on these vital homelessness services compared to ten years ago.

Last year the government unveiled its £100m strategy to tackle rough sleeping on England's streets, helping to turn people's lives around and by providing support for mental health and addictions.

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire vowed to make homelessness "a thing of the past" and the government has vowed to end rough sleeping by 2027. This target will come far too late for too many.

 

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