Scottish Liberal Democrats housing spokesperson Paul McGarry has today said that the Scottish Government should be "ashamed" after statistics published by the National Records of Scotland revealed 216 homeless people died in 2019 - an 11% increase on the estimate of the previous year.
The statistics also showed:
- The average age at death in 2019 was 43 years-old for men and 39 for women and more than half of homeless deaths (54%) were drug-related.
- Almost three-quarters (73%) of deaths among people experiencing homelessness were male (157) and 27% were female (59).
- Scotland had the highest homeless death rate when compared to England and Wales in 2019 with a rate of 52.2 per million population aged 15-74 compared to 18 in England and 14.3 in Wales.
Housing spokesperson Paul McGarry commented:
“These figures are absolutely heart-breaking. The Government should be ashamed by the frequency of deaths on our streets and in temporary accommodation. Hundreds of homeless people and their families have been utterly failed.
“Two years ago, we warned the Government that there was a homeless deaths emergency but as these figures show, the response was nowhere near good enough. Yet during lockdown the government was forced to take radical action and to find homes for people who needed them. That showed what has been possible all along.
“ It is a basic responsibility to ensure every person has a long term place to call home. These statistics show important it is that following the pandemic we do not regress and that we ensure that adequate accommodation and support is being created.
“The extent of both the homelessness death emergency and the drugs crisis in Scotland has been evident to everyone. There must be no backsliding on homelessness now from the Scottish Government.
“The country cannot afford to continue to look the other way.”