Almost 600 homeless people died last year, according to shocking new government figures, the first time homeless deaths have been recorded for England and Wales. The figure is a 24 percent increase over the last five years.
The crisis was exemplified by homeless man Gyula Remes who was found passed out just yards from Parliament on Tuesday, later dying in hospital. The death was the second of its kind. In February a Portuguese man, who had been sleeping rough also near Westminster tube station, was found dead.
In February, a Portuguese former model, who had been rough sleeping in an underpass in Westminster tube station, was found dead.
The government has been accused of actively worsening the homelessness crisis, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn repeatedly calling out Theresa May for changes she’s introduced to benefits and services.
Crisis, a charity for homeless people, revealed last week that rough sleeping in the UK rose by 20 percent to 24,000 over 12 months, doubling over five years.
Collated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) the data shows how over half of homeless people’s deaths in 2017 were due to suicide, drug poisoning or liver disease.
The two worst-hit parts of the country were London and the North West, while 84 percent of deaths were men, with the mean age for the deceased being 44 for all those recorded between 2013-17.
Shadow Housing Minister Melanie Onn, quoted in the Independent, said: “These figures are utterly shameful and reflect a complete failure of Conservative policy on housing, which has seen rough sleeping skyrocket since 2010.
“We are one of the richest countries in the world and there is no excuse for people dying on our streets.”
On Tuesday, Remes, 43, collapsed and was found by British Transport Police outside the busy Westminster Underground Station. Despite being administered first aid, he died several hours later.
The death of Remesm who was found close to a door used by parliamentarians, prompted fury from MPs. Labour MP Neil Coyle said: “We should all be ashamed that Westminster – a world heritage site – is also a place homeless people are forced to try to stay warm.”