Level of deaths on the streets is a national scandal
Monday 17 December 2018
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has today released an update on its Dying Homeless project, reporting that 554 people have died whilst homeless or rough sleeping since the start of last winter
St Mungo’s has called on the Government to provide more long-term solutions and support to end homelessness, including a new programme to ensure every death is adequately investigated.
Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “The recent reports that 554 people have died while homeless in the past 14 months confirm what we have long known and feared – that the level of deaths occurring on the streets is now nothing short of a scandal.
“These numbers are shocking. People are not just stuck on the streets, they are dying on the streets. Worse still many of these deaths are premature and entirely preventable.
“We want the Government to deliver on its commitment to ensure a formal review when someone dies while rough sleeping. We think there is a strong case for Government to fund a separate programme outside of the Safeguarding Adult Review process to ensure every death of someone sleeping rough is reviewed. This way we can identify the changes needed, at the local and national level, to stop these tragedies.
“We support the Government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy, which is providing more help for people in need on the streets now. However, we also need to focus on long-term housing and support, and on preventing people sleeping rough in the first place. That’s why our Home for Good campaign is calling for more social housing; a more secure and affordable private rented sector; and a new programme of long-term, guaranteed funding for homelessness services.
“That’s what it will take to end rough sleeping and the scandal of people dying on the streets.”
Rough sleeping is the most damaging form of homelessness. The average age of death for a man who dies whilst sleeping rough or in homelessness services is only 47. For women it’s 43. And the longer someone spends on the streets the harder it is to come back from.
Government action can stop people returning to the streets permanently by:
• building more social homes and making them available to people who have slept rough;
• improving private renting; and
• guaranteeing long-term funding for homelessness services.
Sign our campaign at www.mungos.org/homeforgood