Austerity and lack of social housing blamed for deaths of people without a home

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By VIEW editor Brian Pelan

The recent news report that 440 homeless people have died on streets or in temporary accommodation in the UK in the past year is truly shocking.

The Detail news site in Northern Ireland have also reported that over an 11-month period 148 registered homeless people in Northern Ireland had their applications for social housing closed because they died.

We have covered the issue of homelessness (https://bit.ly/2E6Pcxr) and (https://bit.ly/2El7UBJ) in Northern Ireland on two separate occasions in VIEW magazine over the last few years.

It is very depressing that the situation for those without a home in Northern Ireland is obviously getting worse.

This grim scenario in Northern Ireland is taking place against a backdrop of savage welfare cuts and an increase in food banks.

A former soldier, an astrophysicist and a Big Issue seller are among the hundreds who have died in the UK since October 2017. They were found dead in shop doorways, hostels and camping in tents in woodland, with some lying dead for months before their bodies were discovered, requiring forensic testing for identification, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-04-23/dying-homeless).

Jim Dennison, chief executive of Simon Community NI, said today: “There was a public outcry – and rightly so – when five homeless people died on the streets of Belfast nearly two years ago. Now we know that a further 148 people have died in less than a year. This simply can’t go on.”

Other charities in the UK have called the deaths a national disgrace and have blamed soaring homelessness on austerity, expensive private rents and a lack of social housing.

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