The number of homeless people dying in England and Wales has reached the highest level since records began in 2013, according to official figures.
The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows 778 homeless people died in 2019, an increase of 7.2% from the previous year.
Almost two in five deaths were related to drug poisoning, while suicide among homeless people increased by more than 30% in the past year.
The Local Government Association (LGA) warned that many of these deaths could have been prevented and called for more funding for public health services.
Cllr David Renard, LGA’s housing spokesperson, said: ‘It is good the Government recognised the need to fund homelessness services in the Spending Review. However in the longer-term, it is vital that there is a renewed focus on investing in homelessness prevention services, alongside giving councils the powers to build the social housing the country needs and ensuring that the local safety net is adequately resourced.
’The fact that over a third of deaths were related to drug poisoning deepens our concern about no new public health funding announced in the recent Spending Review for next year. This is a false economy that will only compound pressures on acute services.’