Scotland's homeless have a life-expectancy of just 39
A survey by homeless charity Streetwork has found that those sleeping rough in Scotland have an expected life expectancy of only 39 years.
Streetwork found that those sleeping rough in Scotland are expected to live eight years less than those south of the Border, where surveys indicate a life-expectancy of 47. The findings have ignited calls for the Scottish Government to do more to help those who are sleeping rough in the country.
Speaking at the unveiling of the survey, Clair Gibson, Streetwork’s chief executive said: “Thirty-nine years old – for most, it is considered the prime of their life. For us, on average, it is the age at which someone rough sleeping will die. Streetwork aims to be there to stop that happening. In these times of austerity measures we see despair, desperation and destitution on the streets. Welfare reform, unemployment and the chronic shortage of housing are impacting on the routes off the street.”
The charity’s findings were backed by the chief executive of Homeless Action Scotland, Robert Aldiridge, “In Scotland we have seen a welcome reduction in overall homelessness recently but we haven’t yet put an end to rough sleeping. Our New Year resolution must be to focus on helping people off the streets.”
For a male born today, the average life expectancy is 76 and 80 for female, reports the Scottish Herald.
There are no official numbers for the amount of rough sleepers; however last year 145 people per month said that they had slept rough on the night before applying to their council for help.
Last year 39,827 household declared themselves homeless to their councils and 80% of applications were accepted.
Scottish Labour MSP Jackie Baillie said: “For too many, there simply isn’t the emergency accommodation available to ensure that they have a safe place to sleep. The SNP government needs to act – and act now. There are too many rough sleepers in Scotland. There are too many rough sleepers dying at an age which is far, far too young. They need support and stable accommodation to help turn their lives around.”
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