Homelessness: Death

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 11th January 2021.

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Photo of Grahame Morris Grahame Morris Labour, Easington

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made for the implications his policies on homelessness of the Office for National Statistics publication, Deaths of homeless people in England and Wales: 2019 registrations, published on 14 December 2020.

Photo of Kelly Tolhurst Kelly Tolhurst Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

Every death of someone sleeping rough on our streets is a tragedy, and the Government is committed to ending rough sleeping. This is why we are spending over £700 million on homelessness and rough sleeping this year alone.

We know that many individuals experiencing homelessness have substance misuse and mental health support needs. MHCLG is working closely with DHSC and PHE to ensure rough sleepers have the health care they need, when they need it.

On 14 December, we announced £23 million of Government funding to provide substance misuse treatment and recovery services for people sleeping rough or at risk, backed by an additional investment of £52 million in 2021/22. This funding will provide evidence-based drug and alcohol treatment, such as detox and rehab services and will be vital to enabling people to access the specialist support required to rebuild their lives and move towards longer term accommodation. Additionally, DHSC is delivering £30 million of funding for mental health services for people experiencing rough sleeping up until 2023/24, as committed to in the NHS Long Term Plan and MHCLG’s Rough Sleeping Strategy.

This year has presented increased challenges and we have met these by taking quick and unprecedented action to protect rough sleepers throughout the pandemic. Our rapid response protected many vulnerable people from the risk of COVID-19 and ultimately will have saved lives. According to research by UCL and published in the Lancet, preventative measures taken by the Government may have avoided 21,092 infections, 266 deaths, 1,164 hospital admissions and 338 intensive care (ICU) admissions of homeless people.

We continue to work closely with the homelessness sector, local authorities and health and care partners, to ensure the needs of those experiencing homelessness and rough sleeping can be met.

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