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09th Oct 2018

At least 449 homeless people died in the UK last year

Kyle Picknell

Homeless charities have condemned the ‘horrifying’ number of deaths

At least 449 homeless people have died in the UK since October last year, as reported by The Guardian.

An investigation has stated that some of the people that died were left for months before their bodies were discovered. They were found in shop doorways, hostels and camping in tents, often requiring forensic analysis before being identified.

The figures were released by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, but will likely pale in comparison to the actual number as the UK has no organisation that officially records the deaths of the homeless.

You can read the profiles of those that lost their lives, such as a former soldier, Big Issue salesman and astrophysicist, on the Bureau’s official website here. One of the first accounts you see is for James Abbott, as reported by the Croydon Advertiser. It reads:

‘Died in Croydon on October 4, 2017, aged 51. James reportedly committed suicide in a hotel in Croydon, the day before his temporary accommodation was due to run out. A report from Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “He [Mr.Abbott] said his primary need was accommodation and if this was provided he would not have had an inclination to end his life.”‘

It was found that 69% of the deaths were men, whilst the average age was 49 for men and 54 for women. The full range was between 18 and 94. Cold temperatures in January meant it was the deadliest month, with at least 33 people losing their lives.

According to The Guardian, charities have branded the number a “national disgrace”, pointing to austerity, extortionate rent prices and lack of social housing as the causes of the soaring number of homeless people.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Every death of someone sleeping rough on our streets is one too many and we take this matter extremely seriously.”

The homeless charity Shelter used official government statistics to estimate that 307,000 people were sleeping rough or living in inadequate housing in November last year. That equates to one in every 200 people in the UK.

You can use websites such as to help put local services in contact with those sleeping rough to offer help.