ST HELENS has seen the death of 20 homeless people over the past six years although 2018 saw a decrease in the face of national trends.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that there was one homeless death in St Helens in each of the years 2013, 2014 and 2015.

However, from 2016 numbers increased, with six estimated homeless deaths in that year.

In 2017 this went up to seven estimated deaths and new figures show that there were four in St Helens during 2018.

Over the six-year period St Helens saw a homeless death rate of 26.4 per million people, slightly more than double the rate for England and Wales of 13.0.

While deaths of homeless people increased by 22 per cent to 726 in 2018, the largest rise since 2013, St Helens saw a decrease last year.

The estimated deaths of homeless people figures have been identified from the death registration records held by ONS, and a statistical method called capture-recapture modelling to estimate the most likely number of additional deaths not identified as homeless people.

The ONS says the method used provides a robust but conservative estimate, so the real numbers may still be higher.

The number of identified deaths over this six-year period in St Helens is 17.

St Helens Star:

Cllr Jeanie Bell

Responding to the figures, Cllr Jeanie Bell, St Helens Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “While the picture in St Helens does not reflect the 22 per cent rise nationally in the number of homeless people dying, the death of any homeless person is not acceptable.

“These figures reflect the impact of years of austerity, cuts in funding to vital health and other support services - as well as changes to the welfare benefits system and the failure to build affordable homes.

“While the government has committed to reducing levels of homelessness and rough sleeping and has provided some additional funding for homelessness services, these figures demonstrate that funding needs to be provided in other areas to support homeless people with complex needs if we are serious about tackling this issue.”