Homeless deaths investigation call

Inverclyde’s health and social care convener has called for an immediate investigation into a 213 per cent increase in deaths of homeless people in Inverclyde.

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 are 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.

“The data for 2019 shows there were 10 identified deaths and 12 estimated deaths in 2019 and that that this a 213 per cent increase compared with the previous year which saw 2 identified deaths and 3 estimated deaths. 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 leads 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.

“For anyone right now who finds themselves with problems in their life I would urge you to seek support right away before. In our health and social care partnership, even throughout the covid pandemic, our teams are there to support you. Even if the issues you have are not something we can support you with, we can help to point you in the right direction to the support you need.”