Dying Homeless is an investigation logging when and how people are dying homeless in the UK. The project, for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, aims to both memorialise those that have died and provide irrefutable evidence on the scale of the issue. Maeve McClenaghan is an journalist who has been working on the investigation and she is keen to hear from anyone who might be able to help.
Dying Homeless, which has been recently announced as a finalist in this year’s Amnesty Media Awards, works by gathering names and information through local press reports, talking to charities and outreach workers, making freedom of information requests from councils, trawling inquest lists and talking to friends and families to get as full a picture as possible about the numbers and stories of those who have died whilst homeless.
Sensitivity and respect are paramount, and the project has anonymised people where necessary/requested. For more about the stories themselves and the coverage the project has received, click here and here.
For the purpose of the investigation, Maeve and the team have been using Crisis’ definition of homelessness, which includes: people sleeping rough, those registered as statutory homeless by their local authority and those who are living long term as ‘hidden homeless’, e.g. sofa-surfing.
Following the publication of the investigation, which revealed 581 people had died homeless since October 2017, the Office for National Statistics has published an experimental piece of research on the number of people dying homeless between 2013-2017. This can be read here.
As such a step demonstrates, the work of Maeve and the Bureau’s network has been vital in raising awareness about the human cost of homelessness, but the team need help to gather as many stories as possible before the project draws to a close next month.
As such, we’d encourage anyone working within the sector, who knows of instances where people have died homeless, to help ensure the investigation tells as accurate a story as possible about the impact of destitution.
If you know of instances where people have died homeless you can fill in the Bureau’s form here, or email Maeve directly (all off the record). Please note the investigation will close at the end of March 2019, though we’ll keep members updated if there are other ways they can continue to support the work it has started.