Statement on deaths of people who are homeless in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2020

Statement on deaths of people who are homeless in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2020
30th November 2021 Jessica Turtle

Statement on deaths of people who are homeless in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2020.

We are aware that official statistics are being released this week regarding the deaths of people experiencing homelessness in 2020. We welcome the collection of official statistics and the attention paid to them – the loss of life on this scale is an issue of national importance.

Museum of Homelessness, through our Dying Homeless Project, has been collecting information about deaths of people experiencing homelessness since 2019, following the important and influential work of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

We urge everyone to remember that behind each statistic was a real person, who had people who cared about them. Our memorial site. remembers each person with love and dignity.

Museum of Homelessness research findings on the deaths of people who are homeless in 2020

In February 2021, we released our findings that 976 people had died over the course of 2020, part of the Dying Homeless Project. We have received more information during the year and the total is now 1,048 people.

A summary of our report published in February 2021 can be found here:

What has happened since Feb 2021

Since our data release in February 2021, we have had additional information come through FOI requests and memorials submitted to us. Of these, 17 are in Scotland and 44 are in London and the full total is 72 more people.

We will be updating our memorial site accordingly in due course.

We will be publishing our full set of findings for 2021 in spring 2021.

How we collect our information

There is some difference between our data collection and those of official statistics. One key thing is that we record actual deaths, through FOI requests, our networks and submissions to our website.  We do not estimate deaths. Estimation is part of the methodology used to calculate death rates by the ONS, for example.

We are continually saddened and outraged by the need for our project to continue. Whatever specific numbers are released by official bodies this week, our message stays the same: we continue to call for much, much more to be done to provide vital care and support for people experiencing homelessness at both a local and national level.  The numbers of deaths in our community is simply unacceptable and speaks of a broken system.

What you can do

If you are angered, as we are, by this devastating injustice you can join our national Dying Homeless Coalition which meets about every six weeks. The Dying Homeless Coalition is made up of people with experience of homelessness, artists, journalists, lawyers, medical professionals, grassroots organisers and homelessness sector workers. We take action to prevent deaths.

Contact miranda@museumofhomelessness.org to join our coalition.

If you are bereaved and would like an informal, supportive chat (non clinical) please contact jess@museumofhomelessness.org

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