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    • New figures reveal at least 449 homeless deaths in UK in the last year

      On the streets, in a hospital, a hostel or a B&B: across the UK the deaths of people without a home have gone unnoticed.

      Tonight we’re attempting to shed new light on a hidden tragedy.

      Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism suggests at least 449 homeless people have died in the UK in the last year – at least 65 of them on the streets.

      The homeless charity Crisis says the figures are “deeply shocking”. They want such deaths to be better investigated and recorded.

      https://www.channel4.com/news/new-figures-reveal-at-least-449-homeless-deaths-in-uk-in-the-last-year

      #statistiques #chiffres

    • “A national scandal”: 449 people died homeless in the last year

      A grandmother who made potted plant gardens in shop doorways, found dead in a car park. A 51-year-old man who killed himself the day before his temporary accommodation ran out. A man who was tipped into a bin lorry while he slept.

      These tragic stories represent just a few of at least 449 people who the Bureau can today reveal have died while homeless in the UK in the last 12 months - more than one person per day.

      After learning that no official body counted the number of homeless people who have died, we set out to record all such deaths over the course of one year. Working with local journalists, charities and grassroots outreach groups to gather as much information as possible, the Bureau has compiled a first-of-its-kind database which lists the names of the dead and more importantly, tells their stories.

      The findings have sparked outrage amongst homeless charities, with one expert calling the work a “wake-up call to see homelessness as a national emergency”.

      Our investigation has prompted the Office for National Statistics to start producing its own figure on homeless deaths.

      We found out about the deaths of hundreds of people, some as young as 18 and some as old as 94. They included a former soldier, a quantum physicist, a travelling musician, a father of two who volunteered in his community, and a chatty Big Issue seller. The true figure is likely to be much higher.

      Some were found in shop doorways in the height of summer, others in tents hidden in winter woodland. Some were sent, terminally ill, to dingy hostels, while others died in temporary accommodation or hospital beds. Some lay dead for hours, weeks or months before anyone found them. Three men’s bodies were so badly decomposed by the time they were discovered that forensic testing was needed to identify them.

      They died from violence, drug overdoses, illnesses, suicide and murder, among other reasons. One man’s body showed signs of prolonged starvation.

      “A national disgrace”

      Charities and experts responded with shock at the Bureau’s findings. Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s chief executive, said: “These figures are nothing short of a national scandal. These deaths are premature and entirely preventable.”

      “This important investigation lays bare the true brutality of our housing crisis,” said Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter. “Rising levels of homelessness are a national disgrace, but it is utterly unforgivable that so many homeless people are dying unnoticed and unaccounted for.”
      “This important investigation lays bare the true brutality of our housing crisis"

      Our data shows homeless people are dying decades younger than the general population. The average age of the people whose deaths we recorded was 49 for men and 53 for women.

      “We know that sleeping rough is dangerous, but this investigation reminds us it’s deadly,” said Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis. “Those sleeping on our streets are exposed to everything from sub-zero temperatures, to violence and abuse, and fatal illnesses. They are 17 times more likely to be a victim of violence, twice as likely to die from infections, and nine times more likely to commit suicide.”

      The Bureau’s Dying Homeless project has sparked widespread debate about the lack of data on homeless deaths.

      Responding to our work, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has now confirmed that it will start compiling and releasing its own official estimate - a huge step forward.

      For months the ONS has been analysing and cross-checking the Bureau’s database to create its own methodology for estimating homeless deaths, and plans to produce first-of-their-kind statistics in December this year.

      A spokesperson said the information provided by the Bureau “helps us develop the most accurate method of identifying all the deaths that should be counted.”
      Naming the dead

      Tracking homeless deaths is a complex task. Homeless people die in many different circumstances in many different places, and the fact they don’t have a home is not recorded on death certificates, even if it is a contributing factor.

      Click here to explore the full project

      There are also different definitions of homelessness. We used the same definition as that used by homeless charity Crisis; it defines someone as homeless if they are sleeping rough, or in emergency or temporary accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs, or sofa-surfing. In Northern Ireland, we were only able to count the deaths of people registered as officially homeless by the Housing Executive, most of whom were in temporary accommodation while they waited to be housed.

      For the past nine months we have attended funerals, interviewed family members, collected coroners’ reports, spoken to doctors, shadowed homeless outreach teams, contacted soup kitchens and hostels and compiled scores of Freedom of Information requests. We have scoured local press reports and collaborated with our Bureau Local network of regional journalists across the country. In Northern Ireland we worked with The Detail’s independent journalism team to find deaths there.

      Of the 449 deaths in our database, we are able to publicly identify 138 people (we withheld the identity of dozens more at the request of those that knew them).

      Of the cases in which we were able to find out where people died, more than half of the deaths happened on the streets.

      These included mother-of-five Jayne Simpson, who died in the doorway of a highstreet bank in Stafford during the heatwave of early July. In the wake of her death the local charity that had been working with her, House of Bread, started a campaign called “Everyone knows a Jayne”, to try to raise awareness of how easy it is to fall into homelessness.

      Forty-one-year-old Jean Louis Du Plessis also died on the streets in Bristol. He was found in his sleeping bag during the freezing weather conditions of Storm Eleanor. At his inquest the coroner found he had been in a state of “prolonged starvation”.

      Russell Lane was sleeping in an industrial bin wrapped in an old carpet when it was tipped into a rubbish truck in Rochester in January. He suffered serious leg and hip injuries and died nine days later in hospital. He was 48 years old.

      In other cases people died while in temporary accommodation, waiting for a permanent place to call home. Those included 30-year-old John Smith who was found dead on Christmas Day, in a hostel in Chester.

      Or James Abbott who killed himself in a hotel in Croydon in October, the day before his stay in temporary accommodation was due to run out. A report from Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group said: “He [Mr Abbott] said his primary need was accommodation and if this was provided he would not have an inclination to end his life.” We logged two other suicides amongst the deaths in the database.

      Many more homeless people were likely to have died unrecorded in hospitals, according to Alex Bax, CEO of Pathways, a homeless charity that works inside several hospitals across England. “Deaths on the street are only one part of the picture,” he said. “Many homeless people also die in hospital and with the right broad response these deaths could be prevented.”
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      Rising levels of homelessness

      The number of people sleeping rough has doubled in England and Wales in the last five years, according to the latest figures, while the number of people classed as officially homeless has risen by 8%.

      In Scotland the number of people applying to be classed as homeless rose last year for the first time in nine years. In Northern Ireland the number of homeless people rose by a third between 2012 and 2017.

      Analysis of government figures also shows the number of people housed in bed and breakfast hotels in England and Wales increased by a third between 2012 and 2018, with the number of children and pregnant women in B&Bs and hostels rising by more than half.

      “Unstable and expensive private renting, crippling welfare cuts and a severe lack of social housing have created this crisis,” said Shelter’s Neate. “To prevent more people from having to experience the trauma of homelessness, the government must ensure housing benefit is enough to cover the cost of rents, and urgently ramp up its efforts to build many more social homes.”

      The sheer scale of people dying due to poverty and homelessness was horrifying, said Crisis chief executive Sparkes.“This is a wake-up call to see homelessness as a national emergency,” he said.

      Breaking down the data

      Across our dataset, 69% of those that died were men and 21% were women (for the remaining 10% we did not have their gender).

      For those we could identify, their ages ranged between 18 and 94.

      At least nine of the deaths we recorded over the year were due to violence, including several deaths which were later confirmed to be murders.

      Over 250 were in England and Wales, in part because systems to count in London are better developed than elsewhere in the UK.

      London was the location of at least 109 deaths. The capital has the highest recorded rough sleeper count in England, according to official statistics, and information on the well-being of those living homeless is held in a centralised system called CHAIN. This allowed us to easily record many of the deaths in the capital although we heard of many others deaths in London that weren’t part of the CHAIN data.

      In Scotland, we found details of 42 people who died in Scotland in the last year, but this is likely a big underestimate. Many of the deaths we registered happened in Edinburgh, while others were logged from Glasgow, the Shetland Islands and the Outer Hebrides.
      “We know that sleeping rough is dangerous, but this investigation reminds us it’s deadly”

      Working with The Detail in Northern Ireland, we found details of 149 people who died in the country. Most died while waiting to be housed by the country’s Housing Executive - some may have been in leased accommodation while they waited, but they were officially classed as homeless.

      “Not only will 449 families or significant others have to cope with their loss, they will have to face the injustice that their loved one was forced to live the last days of their life without the dignity of a decent roof over their head, and a basic safety net that might have prevented their death,” Sparkes from Crisis. No one deserves this.”

      A spokesperson from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said:

      “Every death of someone sleeping rough on our streets is one too many and we take this matter extremely seriously.

      “We are investing £1.2bn to tackle all forms of homelessness, and have set out bold plans backed by £100m in funding to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and end it by 2027."


      https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-10-08/homelessness-a-national-scandal?token=ssTw9Mg2I2QU4AYduMjt3Ny
      #noms #donner_un_nom #sortir_de_l'anonymat

    • Homelessness kills: Study finds third of homeless people die from treatable conditions

      Nearly a third of homeless people die from treatable conditions, meaning hundreds of deaths could potentially have been prevented, a major new study shows.

      The research by University College London (UCL), which was exclusively shared with the Bureau, also shows that homeless people are much more likely to die from certain conditions than even the poorest people who have a place to live.

      The findings come as the final count from our Dying Homeless project shows an average of 11 homeless people a week have died in the UK in the last 18 months. We have been collecting data dating back to October 2017 and telling the stories of those who have died on the streets or in temporary accommodation; our tally now stands at 796 people. Of those people we know the age of, more than a quarter were under 40 when then they died.

      While many might assume hypothermia or drug and alcohol overdoses kill the majority of homeless people, this latest research by UCL shows that in fact most homeless people die from illnesses. Nearly a third of the deaths explored by UCL were from treatable illnesses like tuberculosis, pneumonia or gastric ulcers which could potentially have improved with the right medical care.

      In February 2018, 48-year old Marcus Adams died in hospital after suffering from tuberculosis. The same year, 21 year old Faiza died in London, reportedly of multi-drug resistant pulmonary tuberculosis. Just before Christmas in 2017, 48-year-old former soldier Darren Greenfield died from an infection and a stroke in hospital. He had slept rough for years after leaving the army.

      “To know that so many vulnerable people have died of conditions that were entirely treatable is heartbreaking,” said Matthew Downie, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis. The government should make sure all homeless deaths were investigated to see if lessons could be learned, he said.

      “But ultimately, 800 people dying homeless is unacceptable - we have the solutions to ensure no one has to spend their last days without a safe, stable roof over their head.
      “To know that so many vulnerable people have died of conditions that were entirely treatable is heartbreaking”

      “By tackling the root causes of homelessness, like building the number of social homes we need and making sure our welfare system is there to support people when they fall on hard times, governments in England, Scotland and Wales can build on the positive steps they’ve already taken to reduce and ultimately end homelessness.”
      Twice as likely to die of strokes

      Academics at UCL explored nearly 4,000 in-depth medical records for 600 people that died in English hospitals between 2013 and 2016 who were homeless when they were admitted. They compared them to the deaths of a similar group of people (in terms of age and sex) who had somewhere to live but were in the lowest socio-economic bracket.

      The research gives unprecedented insight into the range of medical causes of homeless deaths, and provides yet another reminder of how deadly homelessness is.

      The homeless group was disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease, which includes strokes and heart disease. The researchers found homeless people were twice as likely to die of strokes as the poorest people who had proper accommodation.

      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.

      Our database shows homeless people dying young from cancers, such as Istvan Kakas who died aged 52 in a hospice after battling leukaemia.

      Istvan, who sold The Big Issue, had received a heroism award from the local mayor after he helped save a man and his daughter from drowning. Originally from Hungary, he had previously worked as a chef under both Gordon Ramsay and Michael Caines.

      Rob Aldridge, lead academic on the UCL team, told the Bureau: “Our research highlights a failure of the health system to care for this vulnerable group in a timely and appropriate manner.”

      “We need to identify homeless individuals at risk earlier and develop models of care that enable them to engage with interventions proven to either prevent or improve outcomes for early onset chronic disease.”

      Of the deaths we have logged in the UK 78% were men, while 22% were female (of those where the gender was known). The average age of death for men was 49 years old and 53 years old for women.

      “It is easy for them to get lost in the system and forgotten about”
      The spread of tuberculosis

      In Luton, Paul Prosser from the NOAH welfare centre has seen a worrying prevalence of tuberculosis, particularly amongst the rough sleeping migrant community. A service visits the centre three times a year, screening for TB. “Last time they came they found eight people with signs of the illness, that’s really concerning,” said Prosser.

      “There are a lot of empty commercial properties in Luton and you find large groups of desperate homeless people, often migrants, squatting in them. It is easy for them to get lost in the system and forgotten about and then, living in such close quarters, that is when the infection can spread.”

      “When people dip in and out of treatment that is when they build a resistance to the drugs,” Prosser added. “Some of these people are leading chaotic lives and if they are not engaging that well with the treatment due to having nowhere to live then potentially that is when they become infectious.”

      One man NOAH was helping, Robert, died in mid-2017 after moving from Luton to London. The man, originally from Romania, had been suffering from TB for a long time but would only access treatment sporadically. He was living and working at a car-wash, as well as rough sleeping at the local airport.

      Making them count

      For the last year the Bureau has been logging the names and details of people that have died homeless since October 1, 2017. We started our count after discovering that no single body or organisation was recording if and when people were dying while homeless.

      More than 80 local news stories have been written about the work and our online form asking for details of deaths has been filled in more than 140 times.

      Our work and #MakeThemCount hashtag called for an official body to start collecting this vital data, and we were delighted to announce last October that the Office for National Statistics is now collating these figures. We opened up our database to ONS statisticians to help them develop their methodology.

      We also revealed that local authority reviews into homeless deaths, which are supposed to take place, were rarely happening. Several councils, including Brighton & Hove, Oxford, Malvern and Leeds have now said they will undertake their own reviews into deaths in their area, while others, such as Haringey, have put in place new measures to log how and when people die homeless.

      Councillor Emina Ibrahim, Haringey Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, told the Bureau: “The deaths of homeless people are frequently missed in formal reviews, with their lives unremembered. Our new procedure looks to change that and will play an important part in helping us to reduce these devastating and avoidable deaths.”

      Members of the public have also come together to remember those that passed away. In the last year there have been protests in Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester, memorial services in Brighton, Luton and London, and physical markers erected in Long Eaton and Northampton. Last week concerned citizens met in Oxford to discuss a spate of homeless deaths in the city.

      In a response to the scale of the deaths, homeless grassroots organisation Streets Kitchen are now helping to organise a protest and vigil which will take place later this week, in London and Manchester.

      After a year of reporting on this issue, the Bureau is now happy to announce we are handing over the counting project to the Museum of Homelessness, an organisation which archives, researches and presents information and stories on homelessness.
      “The sheer number of people who are dying whilst homeless, often avoidably, is a national scandal”

      The organisation’s co-founder Jess Turtle said they were honoured to be taking on this “massively important” work.

      “The sheer number of people who are dying whilst homeless, often avoidably, is a national scandal,” she said. “Museum of Homelessness will continue to honour these lives and we will work with our community to campaign for change as long as is necessary.”

      Matt Downie from Crisis said the Bureau’s work on the issue had achieved major impact. “As it comes to an end, it is difficult to overstate the importance of the Dying Homeless Project, which has shed new light on a subject that was ignored for too long,” he said. “It is an encouraging step that the ONS has begun to count these deaths and that the stories of those who have so tragically lost their lives will live on through the Museum of Homelessness.”

      The government has pledged to end rough sleeping by 2027, and has pledged £100m to try to achieve that goal, as part of an overall £1.2bn investment into tackling homelessness.

      “No one is meant to spend their lives on the streets, or without a home to call their own,” said Communities Secretary James Brokenshire. “Every death on our streets is too many and it is simply unacceptable to see lives cut short this way.”

      “I am also committed to ensuring independent reviews into the deaths of rough sleepers are conducted, where appropriate – and I will be holding local authorities to account in doing just that.”

      https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2019-03-11/homelessness-kills

      #statistiques #chiffres #mortalité

    • Homeless Link responds to Channel 4 report on homeless deaths

      Today, The Bureau Investigative of Journalism released figures that revealed almost 800 people who are homeless have died over the last 18 months, which is an average of 11 every week. The report also shows that a third (30%) of the homeless deaths were from treatable conditions that could have improved with the right medical care.
      Many other deaths in the study, beyond that third, were from causes like suicide and homicide.

      Responding Rick Henderson, Chief Executive of Homeless Link, said: “These figures bring to light the shocking inequalities that people who experience homelessness face. People are dying on our streets and a significant number of them are dying from treatable or preventable health conditions.

      “We must address the fact that homelessness is a key health inequality and one of the causes of premature death. People who are experiencing homelessness struggle to access our health services. Core services are often too exclusionary or inflexible for people who are homeless with multiple and complex needs. This means people aren’t able to access help when they need it, instead being forced to use A&E to “patch up” their conditions before being discharged back to the streets. Services need to be accessible, for example by expanding walk-in primary care clinics or offering longer GP appointment times to deal with people experiencing multiple needs. We also need to expand specialist health services for people who are homeless to stop people falling through the gaps.

      “This research also highlights the other causes of death that people who are homeless are more likely to experience. Research shows that people who are homeless are over nine times more likely to take their own life than the general population and 17 times more likely to be the victims of violence.

      “Homeless Link is calling on the Government in its upcoming Prevention Green Paper to focus on addressing these inequalities, start to tackle the structural causes of homelessness, and make sure everyone has an affordable, healthy and safe place to call home and the support they need to keep it.”

      https://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/news/2019/mar/11/homeless-link-responds-to-channel-4-report-on-homeless-deaths