New stats show increasing homelessness deaths

Data released by the Office for National Statistics have shown that the number of homeless deaths in the UK have been increasing since 2013, and the highest number of homeless deaths in 2017 were in Northern and Midlands urban areas.

Every year the Office for National Statistics releases statistics on the number of recorded deaths of homeless people in the UK.

In 2017, there were an estimated 597 deaths in England and Wales of individuals identified as being homeless from registration records, with 574 of these deaths being situated in metropolitan areas such as the inner areas of UK cities.

Deaths were identified in 156 local authorities in England and Wales, just under half of the total number of authorities in the country. However, the highest density of homeless deaths were situated in densely populated urban areas, especially in traditionally deprived areas of the English Northwest and Midlands.

Not all homeless deaths can be officially recognised. This is often because identifying documents cannot be retrieved from an individual after death, or the individual cannot be formally identified as they have no immediate family members who can be contacted.

The city with the highest reported number of homeless deaths was Manchester, with an estimated 21 deaths. This was followed by Birmingham and Bristol, with 18 and 17 deaths respectively.

The number of estimated, and formally identified, deaths of homeless people have been increasing since 2013, when the Office for National Statistics first began publishing data on the subject. In 2013 there were an estimated 482 deaths, and only 392 formally identified homeless deaths. In 2017 the number of formally identified deaths has risen to 491, with the vast majority of these deaths being situated in England as opposed to Wales.

In recent months, the Conservative Government has been criticised for it’s austerity-focused policies that may have directly led to a rapid increase in homeless populations in the United Kingdom in recent years. It is possible that this increase has also led to an increase in homeless deaths as well as the general homeless population.

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