The number of deaths of people affected by homelessness rose by more than a fifth last year and more than half (51%) over the past six years, while the number of people sleeping rough on the streets over the past decade has risen by a much higher proportion – 160%. While these statistics have only been collected for the past six years the direction of travel is clear.
Riverside is the largest provider of supported housing for people affected by homelessness in the UK as well as providing outreach services which engage and support entrenched rough sleepers off the streets and back into accommodation.
John Glenton, Executive Director of Care and Support for The Riverside Group, said: “This record increase in the number of deaths of people affected by homelessness highlights the most tragic element of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in our country.
“People affected by homelessness feel helpless, hopeless, powerless and empty. No-one deserves to die in these circumstances.
“Early intervention is key to cutting the number of deaths as the longer that people are homeless for the more likely they are to suffer from significant physical and mental health problems, which could lead to the loss of life.
“Analysis of rough sleeper figures earlier this year showed that areas which received additional RSI funding saw the number of rough sleepers fall by almost a quarter (23%) on average – almost halfway to the Government’s manifesto pledge to halve rough sleeping by 2020.
“However, statistics released earlier this year also show that the number of households in temporary accommodation rose by 5% to the highest level for more than 11 years.
“In order to tackle our country’s homelessness crisis we need to see significant and sustained funding increases in rough sleeper services, supported housing, mental health and substance misuse services, and affordable housing.”