INVERCLYDE’S health and social care convener has called for an immediate investigation into a massive increase in the number of homeless people dying in Inverclyde.
Government figures released today show that in 2019 there were 10 identified deaths and 12 estimated deaths among people experiencing homelessness compared with two identified deaths and three estimated deaths the previous year.
Inverclyde had the highest homeless death rate in Scotland — 213 per million of the population compared with the Scottish average of 52. The rate in Inverclyde had increased from 44 in 2018 and 23 in 2017.
Councillor Robert Moran said: “This is a stark reminder of the dangers of homelessness and that we all have a duty to support people in need in our community.
“People who are homeless, whether it is in homeless or emergency accommodation, of no fixed abode or sleeping rough are exposed to other problems.
“Homelessness is a symptom of other issues in your life and should never be a solution to them.
“We need a clear examination of this information to find out what if any underlying issues there are behind this.
“For example, at the moment there is no indication of whether the recent increase in drug deaths in our area is linked to this increase, but it is an area that needs investigation.
“We must never lose sight of the simple fact that, shocking as these figures are, we should be shocked by one more death in our community. Every death is a tragedy and must be treated as preventable.
“The question is what more can we do as a society to support people when problems happen in their lives that lead them towards homelessness and the problems associated with that.
“A more detailed analysis of this data will be required to fully understand why this has been such an issue within Inverclyde in 2019, what the underlying issues are and what more needs to be done to support people before they reach the crisis point of homelessness.”