'Shocking' - Homeless deaths in Edinburgh soar during covid pandemic

The number of homeless people who have died in the Capital has increased by more than 50 per cent in 2020, with a charity boss having branded the figures ‘shocking’.

By Shona Elliott
Tuesday, 30th November 2021, 2:24 pm

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A report from the National Records of Scotland , published on Tuesday, showed that in Edinburgh the estimated death rate of homeless people per million population was 80.1.

This is an increase of nearly 60 per cent (56.14 per cent) compared to the same report in 2019 which found that Edinburgh’s estimated death rate of homeless people per million was 51.3.

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In 2020 in Edinburgh the estimated death rate of homeless people per million population was 80.1.

The findings have been labelled ‘shocking’ by the chief executive of Crisis UK Jon Sparkes who said each person behind the statistic will be missed.

He went on to say that we must learn from these failings and put measures in place to stop such preventable deaths from reoccurring.

Mr Sparkes said: “It’s shocking that even more people died while experiencing homelessness last year. Behind every one of these statistics is a real person, with friends and families. They formed a part of our communities and they will be missed.

Homelessness is an injustice, but it is also a public health emergency. Far too many lives have been cut short and many of these deaths will have been avoidable. That is unacceptable.

“We need to learn from these failings and put in place measures to stop this from happening again. We’ve long known how damaging homelessness can be for someone’s health and it is vital that we act now to prevent people from losing their homes. That means public services, including health bodies, asking about someone’s housing situation, then acting to help if they need it.

“Homelessness is not inevitable. By working together we can end it.”

The figures published today paint a similarly solemn national view. Across Scotland an estimated 256 people died without a home of their own in 2020 - a 40 per cent rise from the previous year.

Almost 80 per cent of these deaths were male and under the age of 45.

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