At least 33 people died homeless in Greater Manchester last year

Dozens of homeless people have died in Greater Manchester last year.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics estimate that at least 33 homeless people have died in Greater Manchester in 2020.

While that was down from 51 deaths in 2019, it was 65% more than the 20 estimated homeless deaths in 2013, when these figures were first collected.

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The figures mainly include people sleeping rough at or around the time of death, but also include those using emergency accommodation such as homeless shelters and direct access shelters.

The method used by the ONS to calculate these numbers provides a robust but conservative estimate, so the actual numbers may be even higher.

And the figures for 2020 have been affected by the Everyone In program, in which more than 37,000 homeless people have been given emergency accommodation since March 2020.

The number of homeless deaths fell in Greater Manchester compared to 2019

These accommodations included hotels and other places that are not generally used to house the homeless, and without centralized registration of these accommodations, this made it difficult to identify the deaths of homeless people housed under this shelter. program.

As such, the numbers for 2020 may further underestimate the actual number of homeless deaths – although charities say more people would likely have died without the program.

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Manchester has the highest death rate among homeless people in Greater Manchester, with around 123 deaths between 2013 and 2020 – 37.2 per million people.

This is almost three times higher than the national rate of 14.0 homeless deaths for every million people in England and Wales.

The rate is also above average in Salford (35 deaths, or 23.5 per million) and Bury (20 deaths, 18.1 per million).

In England and Wales, it is estimated that there were at least 688 homeless deaths in 2020, up from 778 in 2019, which had been a record.

Despite the decrease, the figure is 43% higher than the number when the numbers started in 2013.

Again, the numbers for 2020 are likely an underestimate of the actual number of deaths.

Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, said: “To think that the last days of at least 688 people were made homeless during the pandemic is a sobering thought. If it hadn’t been for the government’s response to Covid to help get people off the streets, even more lives would have been lost.

“As we head into another harsh winter with the virus still circulating, we can’t let anyone out in the cold. Our services are already approached by people in need of emergency accommodation, who are turned away by counsel and often informed that they have no rights.

“The government must step in again to protect people from Covid and the ravages of homelessness this winter. Boards need clear guidelines to ensure that anyone at risk of rough sleeping is provided with emergency accommodation and the necessary funding. “

Campaigners call on government to do more to protect the homeless this winter

Nearly two in five homeless deaths were linked to drug poisoning in 2020 (265 estimated deaths, or 39% of the total number), which is consistent with previous years.

During this time, it is estimated that there have been 13 homeless deaths (2% of the total) involving coronavirus (COVID-19).

Most of the homeless deaths recorded in 2020 were among men (604 estimated deaths, or 88% of the total), which is again consistent with previous years.

The average age at death for the homeless was 46 for men and 42 for women, compared to 77 for men and 81 for women in the general population.

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive Officer of Crisis, said: “It is simply devastating that hundreds of people have been forced to spend their last days without the dignity of a home. These deaths are not just numbers. Each individual was the loved one of someone whose life was cut short and whose ambitions and dreams will never be realized again.

“We cannot let the lessons of each of these tragic and often preventable deaths continue to go un-learned. This is why we urgently need to see the governments of England and Wales expand the current protection review system used to investigate deaths of vulnerable adults to include all those who have died while they are were homeless on the street.

“In the longer term, we also need to help people prevent homelessness before it happens. This requires a long-term Westminster government strategy to provide safe and secure housing and access to healthcare for those facing homelessness in England, and swift action by the Welsh government to implement its new plan aimed at ending homelessness quickly and effectively. Only by doing this can we avoid further loss of life in the future. “

The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity has launched a campaign to fund 1,000 rough sleeping beds in the area during the holiday season.

“1,000 Beds for Christmas” is part of the Mayor’s A Bed Every Night program.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said: “Here in Greater Manchester, our revolutionary approach to rough sleep and homelessness is working and making a real difference.

“The number of people sleeping on our streets is at its lowest since 2013.

“But we won’t rest until we eradicate the urge to sleep on the streets in our city-region.

“Please donate what you can to A Bed Every Night and help us raise £ 30,000 to provide 1,000 places of safety this Christmas. “

To make a donation, click here.

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