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Urgent question on deaths of homeless people

1 October 2019

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Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, John Healey, asked Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Luke Hall, to make a statement about the record number of deaths of homeless people in 2018.

Today the Office for National Statistics published figures showing an estimated 726 homeless people died in England and Wales in 2018. This shows a 22 per cent rise from 2017.

The Minister told MPs,

"As you will know Mr Speaker, this Government is committed to putting an end to rough sleeping by 2027 and halfing it by 2022, and we have changed the law to help make this happen. In April 2018 the Homelessness Reduction Act, one of the most ambitious pieces of legislation in this area for decades came into force. We now have a year's worth of evidence which is showing that more people are being supported earlier and this is having a clear impact on the prevention of homelessness. The Government last year published the Rough Sleeping Strategy underpinned by £1.2 billion of funding which laid out how we will work towards ending rough sleeping for good."

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Shadow Minister John Healey said,

"Mr Speaker, seven-hundred-and-twenty-six people died homeless last year. Wherever we sit in this House, wherever we live in this country, this shames us all in a nation as decent and well off as Britain today."

"Mr Speaker the new official statistics today confirmed a record-high total and a record-high increase, up a fifth in the last year alone. And this record high has been ten years in the making. Investment in new social housing slashed, housing benefit cut thirteen times, nine-thousand homeless-hostel places and beds lost in government funding cuts, and ministers refusing to step in and protect private renters."

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