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‘Homelessness crisis’

Homeless deaths are over nine times higher in England’s poorest areas
Ryan Fletcher, Tuesday, February 26th, 2019

Homeless deaths are more than nine times higher in the poorest areas of England than in the richest, new data shows.


Fatalities of homeless people were recorded by 156 local authorities in 2017, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures.


In total, it is estimated that 574 homeless people died in urban areas in England and Wales during 2017, compared to 26 in rural districts.


There were an estimated 21 homeless fatalities in Manchester and 18 in Birmingham in 2017, while Bristol, Liverpool and Lambeth counted 17 deaths each and Camden recorded 15.


The Blackburn with Darwen unity authority saw the highest number of deaths when weighted by population, with 11 estimated deaths.


Almost of quarter of confirmed deaths in England over five years were in the 10 per cent of areas classified as being the most deprived, the ONS analysis found.


The ONS said, “The rate of deaths per 100,000 population in the most deprived tenth of local areas in England was 9.2 times that of the least deprived tenth.


“For Wales, the rate of deaths per 100,000 population in the most deprived tenth of local areas was 3.4 times that of the least deprived tenth.”


The numbers reflect Britain’s growing housing and homelessness crises.


Official estimates put the number of rough sleepers in England in October 2018 at 4,677, compared to 2,909 at the start of the decade.


Head of Unite Community Liane Groves said extortionate and unreliable private rents, cuts to the social safety net and an acute lack of council housing are “at the bottom of the homelessness crisis”.


“The government cannot continue to look away at this national disgrace – which the ONS figures make quite clear is disproportionately affecting the country’s poorest areas,” Grove said.


“As a matter of urgency they must reform the welfare and private rental systems so that people can afford to keep a roof over their heads and initiate a programme to build more council houses.”

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