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A homeless person dies every 19 hours in austerity Britain

Services are failing to protect homelessness people, say campaigners.

Shocking new research has revealed that a homeless person is dying every 19 hours in austerity Britain, as campaigners call for more to be done to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society.

The study found that at least 235 people affected by homelessness died over the last six months, an average of one every 19 hours.

But campaigners warn the true number is likely to be much higher because official data can be difficult to locate and acquire.

The figures were obtained by the Museum of Homelessness organisation as part of its ‘Dying Homeless Project’, and is a continuation of a study first carried out by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

The data comes from coroners’ enquiries, media coverage, family testimony and freedom of information requests.

According to campaigners, more than 30% of fatalities since 2017 have occurred where people were in emergency or temporary accommodation. This shows that services are failing to protect homeless people, say campaigners.

Museum Of Homelessness co-founder Matt Turtle said: “People affected by homelessness continue to die at a shocking rate despite the passage of the homelessness reduction act nearly 18 months ago.

“We regularly hear from people who feel they’re safer on the streets than in hostels and this data shows why.

“People are placed in inadequate, unsafe accommodation, whether badly run hostels or other forms of private rented accommodation, with all too often fatal consequences.”

Among the many deaths featured in the study includes the case of Kane Walker from Birmingham, who blamed the ‘Bedroom Tax’ for leaving him homeless.

Matt Turtle added: “Before he died, Kane Walker reportedly said the bedroom tax caused him to lose his home and our research shows that Right to Buy and other policies that have reduced the supply of housing have contributed to this crisis.

“There’s much evidence that almost a decade of austerity policies has had a clear and direct impact on society’s most vulnerable.

“We’ve seen communities around the country respond with amazing acts of compassion and campaigns for change.  But we need to see real action from government, not the empty promises we’ve heard so far if we’re to prevent so many innocent people from dying unnecessarily.”

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