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Crisis responds to new official figures showing that almost 600 people died while homeless in 2017

20.12.2018 883 XX

An estimated 597 people died while homeless in England and Wales in 2017, a figure that has increased by 24% over the last five years, according to data released today by the Office of National Statistics. The average age of death for men was just 44 years of age, and just 42 for women.

Please see our response below. Please contact Crisis’ media team on 020 7426 3880 or media@crisis.org.uk if you need further information or would like to arrange a spokesperson interview.

Crisis Chief Executive, Jon Sparkes, said: “ It’s shocking to think that hundreds of people faced the last days of their lives without the dignity of a secure roof over their head. This is nothing short of a national tragedy - especially when we know that homelessness is not inevitable. In one of the world’s wealthiest countries, no one should be dying because of homelessness. It’s imperative that governments act now to stop this tragedy once and for all.

“Behind these statistics are human beings – mothers, fathers, daughters and sons – whose families will now be spending Christmas coming to terms with their loss. This has to change. Governments must urgently expand the system used to investigate the deaths of vulnerable adults to include all those who have died while street homeless, so that crucial lessons can be learned to help prevent more people from dying needlessly. We must also recognise that many people who are homeless have complex needs that have either led to their homelessness, or developed because of it. It’s crucial that there are services in place to support people in these vulnerable circumstances, before it’s too late.

“And governments must go further. We know that homelessness can be ended if the root causes of it are fixed – like building the number of social homes we need and making sure our welfare system is there to support people when they fall on hard times – because no deserves to spend their life, or their last days, homeless.”