Europe

One homeless person dies every 19 hours in modern Britain

Homeless people as young as 16 receive so little support that they are now dying at an alarming rate.

At least 235 people affected by the issue died in the last month – an average of one every 19 hours, according to the Museum of Homelessness campaign group.

However, they believe the true figure would be ‘significantly higher’ if local authorities and health bodies recorded the deaths of rough sleepers properly.

MoH co-founder Jessica Turtle said: ‘We are absolutely sure that there are more deaths than we have so far recorded.

‘We will continue to build a picture as we continue with the project. In some cases the data is not being recorded or there is a delay while inquests are resolved.

‘The way a person’s status is recorded on death certificates is inconsistent. The figures are very concerning.’

They gathered the figures from local authorities, coroners’ courts, media coverage and family testimonies.

The people who died were aged between 16 and 104, and may have been in emergency or temporary accommodation or sleeping rough, the organisation said.

Ms Turtle said the huge amount of deaths showed impact austerity was having on society’s most vulnerable and called on the government to improve access to support for rough sleepers.

Working with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, MoH has so far recorded the deaths of nearly 1,000 homeless people since 2017.

Fellow co-founder Matt Turtle said homeless people are being forced to chose between unsafe accommodation or sleeping on the streets – both of which can be fatal.

He said: ‘We regularly hear from people who feel they’re safer on the streets than in hostels and this data shows why.

‘People are placed in inadequate, unsafe accommodation, whether badly-run hostels or other forms of private rented accommodation, with fatal consequences.’

Boris Johnson is yet to announce plans to tackle the country’s growing rough sleeping crisis and has even been accused of ignoring homelessness by members of his own constituency.

The new PM faces mounting pressure from MPs and charities to address the lack of affordable social housing across the country.

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