Almost 1,000 homeless deaths recorded in the UK in 2020, social justice group says
The figure has risen by over a third compared to the previous year
Nearly 1,000 homeless deaths were recorded across the United Kingdom in 2020, a social justice group has said, a significant increase on the previous year's figure.
The Museum of Homelessness' Dying Homeless Project recorded a total of 976 deaths across England and Wales (693), Scotland (176) and Northern Ireland (107) last year. This represented a 37% rise from the equivalent study in 2019, which recorded 710 deaths.
The MoH said that less than 3% of recorded causes of death were directly attributed to coronavirus. This is partly explained by the government's Everyone In scheme, which saw thousands of homeless people brought to safety at the beginning of the pandemic.
While acknowledging this had been a "significant achievement" of the scheme, MoH stressed that it did not make up for cuts to services which came before the pandemic, along with further disruption caused by the outbreak.
MoH co-founder, Jess Turtle said: "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."
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: "Every death of someone sleeping rough on our streets is a tragedy.
"We agree a safe home for all is vital – that’s why we’re providing over £700 million this year and £750 million next year to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping, including delivering 3,300 long-term homes this year.
"The latest figures show that our ongoing Everyone In initiative had housed 33,000 people, supporting 23,000 into settled accommodation or with move on support – and it will continue to protect thousands of lives."
The official figures on deaths of homeless people in England and Wales in 2020 are scheduled to be released by the Office for National Statistics in October.