Housing

Ed Sheeran is speaking up about homeless deaths for Comic Relief

The musical megastar outlines how the annual charity campaign is supporting Housing First in the UK ahead of a parliament vigil for those who died on the streets

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran has added his voice to those calling attention to homeless deaths in the UK for Comic Relief.

The mega-popular singer-songwriter has teamed up with The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) who have been counting the people who have died on the streets of the UK over the last 18 months.

Sheeran, 28, reads out some of the names of those who have died during the count and also highlights how some of the money donated to the annual Comic Relief fundraiser tonight will be used to help rough sleepers through Homeless Link’s Housing First project.

“Homeless people have actually died on our streets over the last year,” said Sheeran. “Sometimes it’s good to remember by the name – mother of two, Anna, died in a night shelter on the 1stof May in Bath, she had been sleeping rough. She was just 28, which is my age. Aaron died in his tent on the 13th of February weighing just six stone. He was 19 years old.

“Mary’s body was found in a sleeping bag in woods in Kent. Graham was found outside Poundland in Sheffield. Andrew’s body was found outside Boots in Blackburn.

“In the past 12 months, these are just some of the people who have died on the streets of this country in the 21stcentury.”

TBIJ revealed their final figure of almost 800 dead earlier this week. Their project, which kicked off in October last year enlisted the help of local journalists, charities and homelessness organisations across the UK to produce the first-ever count.

The Big Issue is one of the organisations who have played a role in the project, while the stories of late vendors like Istvan Kakas and Fabian Bayet have played a prominent role in coverage of the count.

The Bureau’s pioneering work has inspired national stats body the Office for National Statistics to keep their own count with experimental statistics released just before Christmas finding that 597 people died in 2017.

To mark the end of the TBIJ’s role as figureheads, grassroots organisation Streets Kitchen have arranged a vigil to be held at 10 Downing Street from 6pm on Friday with another to be held in Manchester at the same time.

But the project does not end there – the Museum of Homelessness will be collating all of the stories uncovered by the TBIJ investigation to ensure that the people behind them are never forgotten.

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