Monday 14 December 2020 5:36 pm

Number of homeless deaths in England and Wales hit record high

An estimated 778 people died while homeless in 2019 in England and Wales, an increase of 7.2 per cent compared to 2018.

The ONS stressed it is the highest number of deaths of rough sleepers since the agency began collecting the data in 2013. There has been a 61.4 per cent increase between 2013 and 2019.

The majority of identified deaths were in urban areas. London had the highest reported numbers, with 144 estimated deaths of homeless people, 18.5 per cent of the total number.

There were more than seven times as many male deaths, compared with females in 2019.

Read more: We now have a unique opportunity to end rough sleeping in London for good

The number of suicides has risen sharply, rising by 30.2 per cent in one year. Suicide now makes up 11.8 per cent of the deaths. However, drug poisoning remained the main cause of death, accounting for almost two in five deaths of homeless people.

Today, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced additional support for rough sleepers to help them recover from drug and alcohol misuse.

43 areas across England will receive support from a £23 million government fund. The fund is designed to help rough sleepers rebuild their lives. The ministry has promised an additional £52 million in 2021 to 2022.

Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, Kelly Tolhurst said: “We know that one of the main issues facing those sleeping rough, or at risk of homelessness, is misuse of drugs or alcohol and what a crippling effect these substances have on people’s lives.”

The minister also confirmed an initial £10 million funding to provide accommodation for rough sleepers during the winter.

Read more: Homeless shelter investment firm plans £250m London float

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