LGA responds to number of deaths of homeless people

“Efforts to get people sleeping rough off the streets and stop people from becoming homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic, has shown that it is possible to make a significant difference to the numbers of people forced to sleep on the streets."


Man sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor of an underpass

Responding to figures released by the Office for National Statistics showing the number of deaths of homeless people in England and Wales registered in 2019, Cllr David Renard, Local Government Association housing spokesperson, said:

“These tragic figures are made worse by the fact that many of these deaths are likely to have been preventable.

“Efforts to get people sleeping rough off the streets and stop people from becoming homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic, has shown that it is possible to make a significant difference to the numbers of people forced to sleep on the streets.

“But we need to strive to make this the new normal and not just an emergency response at a time of crisis.

“It is good the Government recognised the need to fund homelessness services in the Spending Review. However in the longer-term, it is vital that there is a renewed focus on investing in homelessness prevention services, alongside giving councils the powers to build the social housing the country needs and ensuring that the local safety net is adequately resourced.

“The fact that over a third of deaths were related to drug poisoning deepens our concern about no new public health funding announced in the recent Spending Review for next year. This is a false economy that will only compound pressures on acute services.”