Dying Homeless Project

Dying Homeless Project
12th March 2019 Tess Hudak

Dying Homeless is a long-term project launched by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2017 to count those that die homeless in the UK. As of April 2019, the Bureau will be handing over the project over to the Museum of Homelessness, who will continue to collate and tell the stories of those dying across the UK.

To mark the end of this phase of the project, MoH will be co-hosting a vigil outside Downing Street to remember those who have died homeless. Find out more about the vigil here.

The number of people who are living homeless has increased sharply in the UK. While we hear tragic stories about people who have died while sleeping rough there are many other people who die in hostels or temporary accommodation and no one counts all these deaths.

For the last year the Bureau has set out to record these deaths, tell their stories and increase transparency.

Over the last year, the Bureau has found:
  • An average of 11 homeless people a week have died in the UK in the last 18 months.
  • At least 798 people have died homeless, since 1 October 2017.
  • Of those people we know the age of, more than a quarter were under 40 when then they died.
  • New academic research from UCL has found nearly a third (30%) of homeless deaths were from treatable conditions that could have improved with the right medical care. (The research explored the in-depth medical records of 600 people that died while experiencing homelessness).
  • Treatable illnesses included tuberculosis, pneumonia or gastric ulcers.
  • Many other deaths in the UCL study, beyond that third, were from external causes like suicide and homicide.
  • A fifth of the 600 deaths explored by UCL were caused by cancer. Another fifth died from digestive diseases such as intestinal obstruction or pancreatitis.

Please check this page in April for news about MoH hosting and leading this important work. You can find out more about the project here.

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