News World Sharp rise in deaths of homeless people in England and Wales, official...

Sharp rise in deaths of homeless people in England and Wales, official data shows

The number of people who died while homeless in England and Wales climbed nearly a quarter in five years, according to the first official data, which was published on Thursday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), a government agency, said 597 homeless people died last year, a rise from 482 who died in 2013.

“Every death of someone sleeping rough on our streets is one too many. Each is a tragedy, each is a life cut short,” housing secretary James Brokenshire told lawmakers during an urgent session in parliament.

“I believe we have a moral duty to act.”

The ONS said the numbers shed light on an area that has historically been vague due to difficulties in counting deaths, with those registering deaths often either unaware that someone was homeless or unable to record the address of any emergency accommodation.

There is also no agreed definition of “homeless” in Britain, with the term used to describe people in a range of situations – from those sleeping rough to the ‘hidden homeless’ population of sofa-surfers and people staying in hostel accommodation.

“This is nothing short of a national tragedy – especially when we know that homelessness is not inevitable,” said Jon Sparkes, head of Crisis, a leading homelessness charity.

“In one of the world’s wealthiest countries, no one should be dying because of homelessness.”

The data showed that homeless people tend to die younger on average, and that more than half of last year’s deaths were caused by drug poisoning, which can include drug dependencies and overdoses, as well as liver disease or suicide.

London and northwest England had the highest mortality rates, the ONS said.

Parliament last year passed the Homelessness Reduction Act, which increased local government obligations to help homeless people.

Brokenshire said the government aimed to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027, and had invested 1.2 billion pounds ($1.5 billion) to reduce and prevent homelessness.

Opposition lawmakers said the number of people dying was unacceptable, and blamed a fractured social security system, government spending cuts and a rise in insecure work.

Homelessness charity Shelter echoed those concerns.

“Our crippling shortage of social housing and a threadbare safety net are at the root of this national emergency,” said Greg Beales, campaign director at Shelter.

“We call on government to make this year a turning point in the fight to ensure that there is a safe home for all those who need it.”

(Reuters)

Top Stories

323 new cases of COVID-19, no deaths announced on Wednesday

The Health Ministry announced 323 new Coronavirus cases out of 33,194 PCR and rapid antigen tests on Wednesday, 3, March, taking confirmed infections to...

EU’s countries deviate from common vaccination strategy, looking at Israel, Russia, China

In recent weeks, several member states of the European Union have decided to distance themselves from the bloc's common strategy for vaccination against Covid-19...

70-year-old woman in danger due to fire at her apartment

A 70-year-old woman was in danger today due to a fire that broke out at her apartment, in the area of Faneromeni, in Larnaca. According...

Where to get a rapid test on Thursday, 4 March

Aiming at the continuous surveillance of the community and the workplaces, the free programmes of rapid antigen testing of the general population and employees...

Jobless rise by an annual 28% in February 2021

The number of unemployed persons registered at the District Labour Offices on the last day of February 2021 in February 2021 rose to 32,789...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...