Over 1,300 fatalities recorded, majority occurring in temporary accommodation.
New research commissioned by a social justice group, the Museum of Homelessness, revealed that more than 1,300 homeless people died in the UK last year, a significant increase from previous years.
The Museum of Homelessness has been running the Dying Homeless Project since 2019, collecting and verifying data on homeless deaths from various sources. According to their research, England saw a 22% increase in deaths to 875 in 2022, and Wales experienced a 27% rise to 76. However, Northern Ireland and Scotland recorded decreases in homeless deaths by more than a third to 205 and by 15% to 157, respectively.
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Researchers believe that the true number of deaths may be higher due to incomplete data from some local authorities. Most fatalities occurred in temporary accommodation rather than while rough sleeping. Matt Turtle, a director for the Museum of Homelessness, urged the Government to implement stronger policy and investment to address this “appalling loss of life” and the lack of social housing.
The Museum of Homelessness also obtained figures suggesting a high number of deaths in exempt accommodation, a type of supported housing exempt from local caps on housing benefit. Manchester alone reported 109 deaths in such accommodation, significantly more than the 21 deaths among the city’s remaining homeless population.
The Museum of Homelessness and other frontline groups are hosting a vigil to remember those who died and to advocate for change. The Office for National Statistics is expected to release official figures on homeless deaths in England and Wales in November. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities highlighted its £186 million plan to help those with drug and alcohol addiction access recovery services and up to £53m for suitable accommodation, as well as £654m over two years to help prevent homelessness.
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