Homeless die 30 years before the average person

 

Homeless people can expect to die 30 years before the average person, research has found.

A study showed that homeless men are dying at an average of 47 years and homeless women at 43, in stark contrast to the average age of death for the general population, 77 years.

The research, carried out by Sheffield University on behalf of homelessness charity Crisis, found that drug and alcohol abuse counts for just over a third of all deaths among homeless people.

Suicide is also nine times more likely among people living rough than the general population.

Meanwhile it found that deaths as a result of traffic accidents are three times as likely, infections twice as likely and falls are more than three times as likely to result in death.

The study, Homelessness: A silent killer, showed that as expected, the causes of death for homeless people differ from those of the wider population, where disease is the biggest killer.

The links between drug and alcohol abuse and homelessness are well established and drugs and alcohol are known to be both a cause and consequence of living on the streets, it said.

Previous research has found that four out of five people start using at least one new drug after becoming homeless.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: "It is shocking, but not surprising, that homeless people are dying much younger than the general population.

"Life on the streets is harsh and the stress of being homeless is clearly taking its toll.

"This report paints a bleak picture of the consequences homelessness has on people's health and wellbeing.

"Ultimately, it shows that homelessness is killing people."

The research by Dr Bethan Thomas at the University of Sheffield estimates the average age of death not just for rough sleepers, but for the wider homeless population including those who reside in night shelters, homeless hostels and use day centres.

Dr Thomas said: "The size of the gap in average age of death between homeless people and the general population is shocking.

"It is appalling that in 21st century England people are dying in early middle age because they do not have a home."

Seyi Obakin, chief executive of youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, said: "This research highlights why the 80,000 young people a year who suffer homelessness need help now.

"In these increasingly tough times for young people the Government and local councils must not lose sight of the need to support homeless young people.

"By dealing effectively with the health, housing and educational problems of homeless young people first time round they can live successful lives and fulfil their potential."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We know that many homeless people have acute and often multiple health needs. That is why we have established the Inclusion Health programme, which focuses on improving access to healthcare, and the results it achieves, for vulnerable groups such as rough sleepers.

"The National Inclusion Health Board is working closely with Ministers, charities, the NHS, and other experts in the causes of homelessness, to ensure that we do better in the future addressing the health needs of homeless people - for example making sure that nobody is discharged from hospital without a bed to sleep in that night."

Housing Minister Grant Shapps added: "The plight of homeless people should be on our minds all year round - not just at Christmas.

"We're fortunate to have some of the toughest laws in the world to prevent people from ending up on our streets and while homelessness remains lower than in 28 of the last 30 years I'm always anxious to do more.

"That's why today I'm announcing £20 million of new funding which for the first time will specifically help single homeless people, who all too often slip through the safety net. This money will be used to help prevent homelessness at an earlier stage."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing