A rise in the number of people who died while homeless has been branded a “national disgrace”.

Official figures show across Scotland there were 244 estimated deaths of homeless people last year.

It is an increase of 80 people from 164 deaths five years ago when the numbers were first counted.

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In Glasgow, there were 56 estimated deaths last year up from 39 in 2017.

The statistics show three-quarters of the deaths were males, around half were under 45 and just over one-third were identified as drug-related.

Campaigners say the more people become homeless the more homeless people will die.

Matt Downie, chief executive of Crisis, said: “These figures are a national disgrace, but they are not at all surprising.

“Anyone familiar with the nature of homelessness knows the damage it does to people’s health. It exposes them to physical danger, and it damages their mental health.

“But the truth is that, as more people are forced into the homelessness system, more people will die homeless.”

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He said councils can’t cope with the growing crisis and more people are sleeping on the streets and families are stuck in temporary accommodation.

Sean Clerkin, campaign co-ordinator of the Scottish Tenants Organisation, said: “These hundreds of homeless deaths in Scotland over the past six years is a national scandal that should shame all in authority.  

“These homeless human beings are wrongly blamed for their predicament and therefore completely ignored by those in power.
“This continuing scandal can only be tackled once and for all by treating it as a National Emergency in Scotland providing the political leadership through committing tens of millions of pounds to genuinely provide quality wrap-around services to homeless people with drug and alcohol addiction problems as well as mental health needs in quality temporary accommodation and in permanent tenancies.”

The Scottish Government said it is providing funding towards its goal of ending homelessness.

Paul McLennan, housing minister, said: “We are providing local authorities with £30.5 million annually for their work to prevent homelessness. Separately, we are providing a total of £100 million from our multi-year Ending Homelessness Together fund.

“I have also regularly met with representatives from Scotland’s local authorities and have actively engaged with them to find solutions to help address housing pressures in their area.”