Statement on the estimated number of deaths of people experiencing homelessness

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Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has commented on the first experimental statistics published by the National Records of Scotland on the estimated number of people who died in Scotland in 2018 while experiencing homelessness. These experimental statistics includes those in temporary accommodation and rough sleepers.

Mr Stewart said:

“The reasons that lead to homelessness are often very complex, and many people who died while experiencing homelessness will have struggled with complex life challenges including addiction, poor mental health, and family breakdown.

“These challenges are often driven by a history of poverty, childhood adversity and trauma, including deteriorating physical and mental health, poor housing, contact with the criminal justice system, and other issues.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

“This report shows that of the number of people who died while experiencing homelessness, 53% were drug related deaths. This reflects the wider public health emergency Scotland is facing over drug deaths.

“The next meeting of the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group will have a specific focus on public health and addiction issues and both myself and the Public Health Minister will be attending.

“While this report is based on experimental statistics, it’s findings will help the Scottish Government to further understand the many issues affecting the most vulnerable in our society and will help us as we double our efforts to eradicate homelessness and it’s causes, in Scotland.

Under Scottish homelessness legislation, local authorities have a duty to offer specific forms of assistance to those at risk of or experiencing homelessness, including advice and assistance, temporary accommodation and settled or ‘permanent’ rehousing

76% of households with children or pregnant women are given temporary accommodation in social rented housing

If a person dies while sleeping rough, they will only be picked up in these statistics if the informant provides this information to the registrar when registering the death

 
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