Glasgow has more homeless deaths than any other UK area

Glasgow has had more homeless deaths than any other area in the UK, new research shows.
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New research by Museum of Homelessness has revealed another devastating increase in the number of people dying while homeless.

The Dying Homeless Project recorded 1286 deaths across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2021 - a 32% increase on the numbers reported in the 2020 study - and a staggering 80% increase over the number published in 2019.

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Only seven fatalities were due to Covid-19.  However, cuts to mental health and addiction services mean too many people don’t get the support they need. Of the cases in which the cause of death has been confirmed, 41% were related to drug and alcohol use and 12% died from completing suicide.

Stock photo by John Devlin.Stock photo by John Devlin.
Stock photo by John Devlin.

How many deaths have been in Glasgow?

According to the data, there were a shocking 80 homeless deaths in Glasgow in 2021 - far more than any other region in the UK.

Westminster, which came second in the list, had 33 deaths.

It marked a huge surge in cases compared to 2020, when there were 33 homeless deaths in Glasgow.

For comparison, Edinburgh saw 38 homeless deaths over the two-year period.

How was this worked out?

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The statistics include people sleeping rough as well as those placed in emergency accommodation and other insecure settings. Each fatality was verified by a freedom of information request, coroners’ report, charity or family member.

‘Hammer blow’

Co-founder of MoH, Jess Turtle said: “These findings are a hammer blow. It’s heart-breaking to see so many people dying and to feel so helpless in the face of such a serious emergency. Government neglect means things keep getting worse with new provision for mental health, addiction and social housing failing to make up for previous cuts.

“If the government took this situation seriously, it wouldn’t have slashed the budget for discretionary housing payments by over a third last month - making it harder for councils to offer the people the breathing space they need to avoid homelessness.  Reversing this £40 million cut and ending the freeze on Local Housing Allowance rates should be immediate priorities so that people have a fighting chance of meeting the spike in private rents.

“Ultimately, the government can’t fix what it doesn’t understand. There needs to be a confidential enquiry into the deaths of homeless people to allow an honest appraisal of what’s happening to the UK’s most vulnerable people. There should also be mandatory fatality reviews for all local authorities – so lessons can be learned from each death.”

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