Until now, there has been no record of the number of people who die homeless.
No government body attempts to count the deaths. There is no official information about their ages, backgrounds or even their names.
But now, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) has set out to count homeless deaths.
Paul Bradley, whose story is featured in the video below, is one of those. The 52-year-old, known as Brad, died in Taunton in Somerset, apparently of natural causes. He was alcohol dependent and had been homeless for much of the last 20 years.
The research followed a Channel 4 News report in December 2017 on the death of Lindy Pring, who died homeless in a tent in Cardiff. Now, new figures from the BIJ indicate at least 449 people died while homeless across the UK in the last 12 months.
With contacts across the UK, the BIJ documented cases like that of Hamid Farahi, the physicist who lived in a car in Harlow and died alone in emergency accommodation, and Jayne Simpson, a mother of five who struggled with addictions and was filmed by Channel 4 News at a shelter before her death.
The Office for National Statistics has now revealed that – for the first time – it is also going to start counting the deaths of homeless people in the UK.
According to the BIJ’s research, of the 449 homeless people who lost their lives in the last 12 months, at least 65 of those died on the streets. Sixteen died in hospital and 47 in temporary accommodation. 321 others died in locations which could not be established.
The research shows 69% of those who died were men and 21% women. There’s no data on the remaining 10%. The average age of death for women was 53. For men, it was 49.