Homeless deaths rise 8% in return to pre-pandemic levels


ome 741 deaths of homeless people were registered in 2021 in England and Wales, up 8% on the previous year, estimates show.

The increase means the number of deaths has returned to pre-pandemic levels after a drop in 2020.

It is “too early” to say whether the rise signals the return of an upward trend in deaths that was under way before Covid-19.

The estimates published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 26 homeless deaths registered last year involved coronavirus – twice the number in 2020.

Nearly two in five deaths (35%) were related to drug poisoning, which was consistent with previous years.

London had the highest number of deaths at 154 – 21% of the total – followed by north-west England at 114 (15%).

James Tucker, of the ONS social care and health division, said: “The latest figure is more in line with pre-pandemic levels following a notable fall in 2020, although it’s too early to say whether this is a resumption of an upward trend in homeless deaths.

“Any death in these circumstances is a tragedy and our estimates are designed to help inform the work of everyone seeking to protect this highly vulnerable section of our community.”