At least 688 people died in homelessness in England and Wales in 2020, according to Latest official stats, a slight decrease was attributed to the introduction of emergency housing for thousands of homeless people during the lockdown period.
It was the first annual decline in the number of estimated deaths of the homeless since records began in 2013, although statisticians warned of difficulties in collecting death records last year meaning the number may be an underestimate.
while less than 778 homeless deaths were recorded The figure in 2019, the total is still 42% higher than when records began in 2013. The highest rates of homeless deaths were in the North East of England and in London.
The biggest cause of death for the homeless in 2020, as in previous years, was drug poisoning. There were 74 suicide deaths, down from 112 in 2019. An estimated 13 homeless people died after contracting Covid-19.
About 37,000 homeless people were provided with hotel accommodations during the early months of the pandemic in 2020, and it is believed that the scheme all, along with halting evictions, has reduced the size of the homeless community, potentially reducing the number of deaths.
The number of homeless male deaths was seven times the number of female deaths. The median age at which homeless men died was 45.9 years and for women it was 41.6 years, which is several decades lower than the average for non-homeless people.
An estimated 256 people died during homelessness in Scotland in 2020, up 40 from the previous year, according to a comparison. Published numbers by National Records in Scotland on Tuesday. In Wales, 22 homeless people died in 2020.
Councilor David Renard, housing spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: “These are very sad numbers, as many of these deaths could be prevented. The concern is that they could be just the tip of the iceberg and understate the true number of homeless deaths.”
“They’ve proven how important it is for us to build on the success of the Everyone In programme, which has seen councils move quickly to help hard-sleepers off the streets during the pandemic, making sure it’s not just a one-time emergency response.”
John Sparks, CEO of the charity Crisis, said: “It is simply devastating that hundreds of people were forced to spend their last days without the dignity of a place they call home. These deaths are not just numbers. Everyone was loved by someone whose life is over and whose ambitions and dreams are now unfulfilled.”
Polly Nate, CEO of the Shelter Foundation, said: “If not for the government’s response to Covid to help people off the streets, more lives would have been lost. As we approach another harsh winter as the virus continues to spread, we cannot leave anyone out in the cold. The government must step in again to keep people safe from Covid.” and the devastation of homelessness this winter.”
The Ministry of Settlement, Housing and Communities has been contacted for comment.