Homeless deaths figure may be higher than 600, ONS admits

Figures suggesting that almost 600 homeless people '“ including 49 in Yorkshire and the Humber '“ died last year are a 'conservative estimate' with the true numbers potentially higher, the Office for National Statistics has said.

Research showed the number of deaths of rough sleepers and those in emergency accommodation rose by 24 per cent from 482 in 2013 to 597 last year across England and Wales.

But the ONS report added challenges in collecting data means the true picture may be even worse. “The method used provides a robust but conservative estimate, so the real numbers may still be higher,” it said.

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Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the Government was taking action to eliminate rough sleeping after Labour blamed cutbacks to social security and support services for the rise in deaths.

An estimated 597 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2017.

“The death of anyone who is homeless is a tragedy,” he said. “We remain focused and resolute in our commitment to make rough sleeping a thing of the past and where we need to do more, we will.”

Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff said: “Every death of a homeless person is a stain on our society. If we are judged as a nation and a government on how we treat our vulnerable, then our nation and our Government are broken.”