Resources should urgently be allocated to probe cause of deaths
Shocking figures revealing 94 homeless peope died on Scotland’s streets last year have been branded a “disgrace” by the country’s leading housing charity.
Shelter Scotland called on the Scottish Government to use the £50 million pledged to its Ending Homelessness Together Fund to probe the reasons for the high death rate among homeless people on the country’s streets.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “These numbers are a disgrace and sadly, in all probability, only part of this tragic picture in Scotland.
“Shelter Scotland believe much more should be done to find what can be done to prevent these personal tragedies being repeated.
“Each of these people was someone’s child, someone’s brother, sister, mother or father and their loss will be felt by those around them.”
Investigators at The Ferret and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), first revealed the figures which include 47 deaths in Glasgow alone.
The findings are part of wider research by TBIJ. Its Dying Homeless Project has recorded 449 to homeless deaths in the UK last year.
However it is feared the death toll could be much higher as no organisation has been tasked with counting how many homeless people die each year.
Hugh Hill, director of operations for Simon Scotland, said the deaths were closely linked use to drugs, alcohol and self-harm.
“It’s past time public health took an active role in addressing the stark health inequalities and exclusions homeless people have to endure,” he said.
“This group don’t just experience health inequalities, they define the term. We record drug deaths. We also need to record the housing status of people dying.”
Kevin Stewart, minister for housing, said: “We are working with partners to understand more about the numbers and needs of rough sleepers.”