An average of two Homeless people died each day in England and Wales during 2018, data has shown.
More than 700 homeless people in England and Wales were registered as dead during 2018, an increase of over 22 per cent since 2017, according to data released by the Office of National Statistics.
This is the largest year-on-year increase in deaths since the Office for National Statistics began recording homelessness deaths in 2013.
London accounts for a fifth of all deaths
The number of deaths in London accounted for around 20 per cent of the total number of deaths for the year, totalling 148 deaths within the capital alone.
The Shadow Housing Secretary, John Healey MP, said: “These figures are shameful in a country as rich as ours.”
He added: “The number of people on our streets fell under Labour but has risen since 2010 as a direct result of the conservatives slashing investment.”
Deaths due to drug poisoning
The data release also pointed to a sharp rise in deaths due to drug poisoning, as the number of drug deaths among homeless people in England and Wales rose by 51 per cent.
Death by drug poisoning now accounts for approximately 40 per cent of all deaths within the homeless population.
A Government spokesperson said: “we are undertaking a comprehensive review which will help protect the most vulnerable – including homeless individuals – from the harms that drugs cause.”
The Spokesperson added: “We are also investing £1.2 billion to tackle all forms of homelessness.”
Average age of 45
The average age at which homeless people died in England and Wales was 45 years old for men and 43 years old for women, just over half of the general life expectancy for 2018.
Over 14 per cent of the number of homeless deaths were also concentrated in north-western cities, where there were 103 registered homeless deaths.
Polly Neate, the chief executive of the homelessness charity Shelter, said: “This is a moment to pause and reflect on what matters to use as a society.”
She added: “We desperately need to set a new course, and to do that we need urgent action”.
The city of Manchester, where the Conservative Party are currently holding their annual conference, reported one of the largest numbers of homeless deaths.
The report comes on the same day as the issue of homelessness and poverty was discussed at the Party conference over champagne.
Other northern cities, such as Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne, came in the top 5 cities with the highest number of homeless deaths.
However, the region of England and Wales with the highest rate of deaths compared to trends in the general population was the South West of England.
In the South West, 87 homeless people died, compared to 21 deaths per 1 million members of the general population.
Jon Sparkes, the Chief Executive of the housing charity Crisis, said: “It’s crucial that Governments urgently expand the safeguarding system used to investigate the deaths of vulnerable adults to include everyone who has died while street homeless.”
He added: “This is now the second year running where we have known the true scale of the human cost of homelessness, yet still the lessons from these tragic deaths go unlearnt.