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Four deaths among Barking and Dagenham’s homeless since 2013, ONS figures reveal

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 February 2019

Homeless person with a warm meal

Homeless person with a warm meal

Archant

The first count of deaths among the homeless has revealed there were four fatalities in the borough.

Four people either living on the streets or in temporary accommodation passed away in Barking and Dagenham between 2013 and 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A volunteer at the homelessness non-profit organisation, Nightingale Angels UK, said: “In all honesty I’m not so shocked anymore. It’s becoming normal.

“That sounds really messed up and it’s really sad, but it has become normal.”

A council spokesman said Barking and Dagenham did not recognise the figures.

He added: “Our residents’ wellbeing is of the utmost importance. In temporary accommodation a range of support is provided. We have seen a reduction in the number of people in such accommodation over the last 12 months, one of the few boroughs in London to witness such a shift.

“In regard to street homelessness our recent count of nine found was one of the lowest in London.”

The ONS used its death registration records to identify the numbers.

It also estimated the number of extra registrations where people were likely to be homeless when they died but weren’t identified as such.

Barking and Dagenham’s estimated figure was the same at four.

But the ONS described its calculations as conservative warning the real count could be higher.

This is the first time the statistics agency has estimated numbers at a local level.

Family circumstances, mental health difficulties, universal credit, unaffordable rents and domestic violence were all identified by Nightingale Angels as causing homelessness with trust being key to fixing the problem.

She explained that one man known to Nightingale Angels Uk has been homeless in the borough for 25 years.

On whether more deaths could happen, she added: “I don’t think there will be. With what Barking and Dagenham is doing we feel there will definitely be more help and support.”

In London from 2013-17 there were 536 deaths identified with the highest number – 73 – in Camden.

For neighbouring Newham the ONS identified 22 people as having lost their lives because they had no home while in Havering there were six, according to the figures.

To report homelessness contact StreetLink @Tell_StreetLink or via Facebook. If there is a medical emergency call 999.

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