The number of people who are living homeless has skyrocketed in the UK, meanwhile spending on support services has been cut. Occasionally we hear tragic stories about people who have died while sleeping rough, but until October 2017 nobody collected data on how and when this happens.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism Dying Homeless project which ran from October 2017 – March 2019 documented that a shocking 800 people died whilst homeless. This hugely important work from the Bureau has been explored at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Homelessness and has prompted the Office for National Statistics to begin to collect some data on the deaths of homeless people, however not the full story as to how and why people have died.
Since early April, Museum of Homelessness has continued to tell these stories, mark people’s lives and uncover lessons that could be learnt to prevent more deaths in the future. Most of us involved in MoH have lost people dear to us far too early due to homelessness. This is a project that we feel strongly committed to continuing, so that we can honour those lost in our community and fight for change.
How it works
We are using the following definition of homelessness: if people are sleeping rough, or in emergency or temporary accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs, or sofa-surfing.
When we are passed a name by the public, we will only publish if it has been verified by local homelessness charities, the coroner’s office or other officials.
We recognise that there is often no clear-cut cause for many of these deaths, and that this is both a highly sensitive and complex issue. We commit to recording these deaths in a respectful and nuanced manner and we will redact sensitive information where necessary or requested by family members.
Our ‘power of veto’ rule where people can request for stories or information to be removed from MoH’s programmes at any time applies here. We ask any other parties who use this data to apply the same ethical principles.
If you would like to write to us you can reach us here.
We need your help – if you are aware of someone who has died while homeless, since start of October 2017, then please take a minute to fill in the form. Thank you.
We are currently designing a new online memorial which should be live from January 2020.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a question about the stories we have collected so far or if you would like a person to be remembered in the new memorial.