Laura Sharman 22 February 2021

Homeless deaths rose by more than a third in past year, warn campaigners

Homeless deaths rose by more than a third in past year, warn campaigners image

The number of homeless people who died last year increased by 37% despite the success of the Everyone In scheme, new research has revealed.

The Dying Homeless Project recorded 976 deaths across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2020 – a 37% increase from the 2019 study.

The research by the Museum of Homelessness found that the Government's Everyone In scheme did successfully prevent homeless people from dying of COVID-19. It found that only 3% of recorded causes of death for homeless people were directly attributed to the disease in 2020.

However, it concluded that the provision of emergency accommodation could not compensate for the cuts to mental health, addiction and housing services.

Jess Turtle, co-founder of MoH said: 'A hotel or hostel room is no substitute for a safe home. The government touts Everyone In as a runaway success. But it didn’t stop a staggering increase in the number of people dying while homeless– despite the best efforts of our colleagues around the country who worked 24 hours a day on emergency response.

'These heart-breaking findings demonstrate how the pandemic hit a system already cut to the bone from 10 years of austerity and the scale of the challenge we face to recover. The government needs to stop repackaging old funding commitments as new support and do more to stop this terrible loss of life.

The Dying Homeless Project coalition is calling for a National Confidential Enquiry into homeless deaths.

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