Survey findings – homelessness and death

Survey findings – homelessness and death
19th November 2020 Jessica Turtle

Thanks to everyone who took our survey on homelessness and death. 

MoH would like to thank everyone who took part in our recent survey online to help contribute to the Dying Homeless Project.

As you may know, we’ve been running this project since 2018.  In collecting and analysing information about deaths of people who are homeless throughout the UK over the last two years, talking to people about their experiences and learning about how death is treated, we came to think that it would be valuable to bring people together for more conversations on these topics.  We don’t believe you can achieve anything without collaboration and working with others, so we wanted to find out what you thought, and we put together a survey.

Survey responses

When we asked people to order the kind of network they wanted by preference, here is what they responded:

1.A sensitive, facilitated space to process my grief,  2. A space to share ways to support staff, volunteers and homeless people, 3. A space to discuss ways to prevent deaths and campaign for change, 4. A space to think about the impact of COVID-19

When we asked people to order their areas of concern due to Covid-19, which will help to inform special investigatory y work on the project, they responded:

1.The impacts of COVID-19 on mental health and deaths by suicide, 2. The impacts of COVID-19 on people with NRPF and asylum seekers living in destitution, 3. the health impacts of poor conditions in temporary accommodation.

We want to thank you for telling us your views on death and grief in homelessness.  We had almost 60 people respond, including people who are homeless, people who work or volunteer in homeless services, and members of the public who care about the issue.  We know it’s a difficult topic, and we appreciate the effort put in by everyone who engaged with the survey to help us think through our plans.

We’ve read through and discussed everything you told us, and we hear three main things coming out:

1) People shared with us some really difficult experiences that they had faced, and confirmed to us that a space to talk about and process grief is needed.

2) We heard people feeling angry and wanting change, interested in coming together to look at joint campaigning.

3) We know that people try to do the best they can and there was a clear sense that a space to learn from each other about how to support people in grief would be welcomed.

What we will do next

No one meeting can serve all of these purposes, so we are now developing three areas of work in response to what we’ve heard.

Firstly, we will organise a general Dying Homeless network that meets quarterly to plan prevention and campaigning. The first of these meetings will be held this year.

Secondly, we will create a space to talk about grief and death, much in line with the Death Café model.  We’ll host this monthly.

Finally, we’ll produce and publish a toolkit/publication on best practice around homeless deaths, where we’ll share learning from other groups and organisations. This could also include guidance for setting up your own grief space or death café locally.

In the meantime, thank you again for talking to us and we look forward to continuing the conversations.  If there is anything else you’d like to feed back, or to discuss with us about the project, please contact Miranda:

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