Inquests: a short guide for bereaved families

9 September 2021

Homeless deaths during the pandemic have risen sharply

We have produced this guide because we are concerned about the rising number of homeless deaths in the UK and want to offer support and information to bereaved families who have lost someone they love.

There has been a steep rise in the number of homeless deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic, and only a small portion seem to be due to the virus itself. It is especially worrying that the numbers have risen at a time when the ‘Everyone In’ policy was in place to house rough sleepers.

The Office for National Statistics has not yet published its statistics on homeless deaths for 2020 but the Museum of Homelessness has reported a 37% increase in homeless deaths based on more than 300 Freedom of Information requests.

It is not clear how many inquests have taken place into the deaths of homeless people during the pandemic or whether they were housed in accommodation that was suitable for their needs. What we do know from the figures is that approximately 41% of people died from physical health conditions, 36% from drug or alcohol use and 15% from suicide.

This leaflet is a short guide to the inquest process for bereaved families whose loved ones have died in emergency or hostel accommodation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will hopefully answer most of the key questions and give bereaved families some idea of what to expect from the process. It is not intended to replace specialist legal advice.

This leaflet was created in partnership with Greater Manchester Law CentreInquestShelterMuseum of Homelessness and Ison Harrison Solicitors.

Download the full leaflet here 

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