Advertisement
Housing

The final Dying Homeless count shows 796 people died in 18 months

The pioneering Bureau of Investigative Journalism project comes to a close alongside a UCL investigation which found that homeless people are much more likely to die from preventable illnesses than even the most economically deprived housed person

The game-changing Bureau of Investigative Journalism project to count the number of homeless deaths has revealed that 796 people have died over the past 18 months.

The final shocking figure brings to an end the Bureau’s project, having already inspired the Office for National Statistics to release their own stats, with the Museum of Homelessness set to take over as custodians later this month.

Alongside the latest count, The Bureau have also teamed up with experts from University College London (UCL) to investigate 4,000 medical records of 600 people who died on the street between 2013 and 2016.

The study found that a homeless people are much more likely to die from preventable and treatable illnesses than even the most economically-deprived housed population.

Conditions like tuberculosis, pneumonia and gastric ulcers accounted for a third of the deaths out of the 600 they investigated.

Late Big Issue vendor Istvan Kakas is included in both studies. The former chef, who died aged 52 from leukaemia in October, was among a fifth of deaths explored by UCL that were cancer-related with homeless people more susceptible to dying from cancer younger than the rest of the population. Another fifth died from digestive diseases such as intestinal obstruction or pancreatitis.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Marcus Adams, 48, Marek Drywa, 59, and 21-year-old Londoner Faizia all suffered from tuberculosis – a killer disease in the past but wildly vaccinated now – before their deaths, according to the study.

Others like 48-year-old former soldier Darren Greenfield died of infections.

“To know that so many vulnerable people have died of conditions that were entirely treatable is heart-breaking,” said Matt Downie, director of policy and external affairs at Crisis. “What’s worse, we’re unable to learn the lessons needed to prevent these senseless deaths from recurring. Governments must urgently expand the systems used to investigate the deaths of vulnerable adults to include all those who have died while homeless.”

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. “

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
The number of ‘no-fault’ evictions being handed out to renters is now 30% higher than pre-Covid
Renting

The number of ‘no-fault’ evictions being handed out to renters is now 30% higher than pre-Covid

Housing crisis update: A man has now built a wooden house on a London pavement
Housing crisis

Housing crisis update: A man has now built a wooden house on a London pavement

The government says it's too expensive to give disabled people in fire risk blocks evacuation plans
Fire safety

The government says it's too expensive to give disabled people in fire risk blocks evacuation plans

Here are the charities leading the fight against LGBTQ+ homelessness in the UK
LGBTQ+

Here are the charities leading the fight against LGBTQ+ homelessness in the UK

Most Popular

Read All
The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who
1.

The remarkable rise of Ncuti Gatwa: From sofa surfing and Sex Education to Doctor Who

Boris Johnson set to scrap plan to let workers keep tips despite admitting minimum wage isn’t enough to live on
2.

Boris Johnson set to scrap plan to let workers keep tips despite admitting minimum wage isn’t enough to live on

Life On Mars sequel has ‘a lot of travelling in time and car chases’, John Simm reveals
3.

Life On Mars sequel has ‘a lot of travelling in time and car chases’, John Simm reveals

The controversial new laws rushed through by the government this week
4.

The controversial new laws rushed through by the government this week

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.