More people are dying on our streets. MPs must act

20 December 2018

Earlier this week, a homeless man died outside the Houses of Parliament.

This terrible news highlights a stark truth: more people than ever are dying on our streets.

597 people died homeless last year, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics – a 24% rise over a five year period.

Here in Kent, we’ve seen the number of rough sleeper deaths rise. It’s a tragedy.

Porchlight, local authorities and partner organisations are doing everything possible to help people off the streets, but with less funding and increased homelessness there is only so much we’re able to do.

Housing secretary James Brokenshire recently denied rising homelessness is a result of government policy. He is wrong.

Cuts in housing benefits and welfare reform are slowly but surely reducing people’s options. The safety nets that exist to support vulnerable people are being stretched to breaking point.

The government has also pledged to make sure every rough sleeper death is fully investigated by local authorities so that lessons can be learned. Despite this, they have not offered any extra funding to make this possible.

Until central government accepts the awful consequences of existing legislation and starts to invest properly in real solutions to the homelessness crisis, lives will continue to be lost.

They must start tackling the root causes of homelessness, put support mechanisms in place to prevent people from ending up on the streets, and provide more social housing for those in need.

It’s time for MPs to act. Nobody should be dying on our streets.