Highest year-on-year increase in homeless deaths is a national tragedy

Photo of origami flowers made to commemorate those who died while sleeping rough

Tuesday 1 October 2019

St Mungo’s has said that the latest national figure showing that 726 people died whilst sleeping rough or in emergency accommodation last year is a “national tragedy.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the new 2018 figures today, which show a 22% increase on the figure of 597 people who died in 2017. This is the highest year to year increase since the ONS time series began.

Today’s announcement also reveals the mean age of death was 45 for men, and 43 for women.

Howard Sinclair, CEO of homelessness charity St Mungo’s, said:

“Years of funding cuts have devastated crucial services supporting people who are homeless. The human cost is a national tragedy.

“726 people died in 2018. That’s the equivalent of two people every day. The number of people dying has increased by 51% since 2013.

“We need to build homes, to make the welfare system truly work for the most vulnerable and to fund homelessness services to help people find a way off the streets, and out of danger, for good.”

St Mungo’s Home for Good campaign is calling for the Government to put an end to rough sleeping.

To commemorate those people who died while homeless last year, St Mungo’s clients, alongside staff and supporters, have together hand made hundreds of origami flowers.

Sinclair continued: “Clients, staff and supporters came together to create this moving tribute which demonstrates the shared passion and drive to put an end to this tragedy on our doorsteps.

“I’m proud that our St Mungo’s teams are out every night making contact with people who are rough sleeping, gaining their trust and helping them find long term routes off the street.

“Our staff see every day the faces behind these shocking statistics, but also help many people avoid an unnecessarily premature death, enabling people to rebuild their lives and fulfil their hopes and ambitions.

“We need the government to take action now to prevent more tragedies. With national action, this can, and must, change.”