New statistics reveal three homeless people died in Northampton last year

The deaths took place in Northampton last year.
The deaths took place in Northampton last year.

The Office of National Statistics have released the number of homeless deaths by local authority in 2018.

Three homeless deaths were recorded by Northampton Borough Council last year, new data by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

Northampton had the highest death toll in the county for 2018 with records of three people dying over the year, compared to none in Daventry, East Northants, Corby and Kettering.

The figures, released this month, show that three people died last year, which is three less than in 2017.

There were an estimated 726 deaths of homeless people in England and Wales registered in 2018, the highest year-to-year increase (22%) since the ONS time series began.

In Northampton, back in 2016 new figures show that four people died, in 2015 six people died, in 2014 two people died and in 2013 there were no recorded deaths.

Two in five deaths of homeless people in England and Wales were related to drug poisoning in 2018 (294 estimated deaths), and the number of deaths from this cause has increased by 55% since 2017.

But the Hope Centre CEO Robin Burgess contests the numbers and said he knows of 15 people in Northampton who passed away last year.

He said: "For 2018 the actual numbers were 15.

"We have definite data; however some of the discrepancy may be around the registered address at the time of death – ie type of hostel.

"We believe all 15 are eligible."

Stan Robertson, who runs Project 16:15, cooks a hot breakfast each morning for the homeless community.

Stan’s idea, 'Project 16:15 Homeless Breakfast Delivery', started as an idea on Facebook because he wanted to help the homeless community.

He said: "I'm not 100 per cent sure that their numbers are correct.

"Three seems a bit light to me, but either way though its three too many.

"This year we have had eight homeless and homeless related deaths this year already."

Of those people who died in 2019 is Sam Wright.

She was 42 years old when she passed away in May this year and touched the hearts of many of the rough sleeping community in Northampton town centre.

Another woman, Jerica Richardson, was only 38 years old when she died on New Years Day this year.

In the days since news of her death broke, 15 bunches of flowers and several cards and ornaments were left in St James.

Mr Roberston has been known to offer an informal grief counselling service for homeless people, which has been in demand since the deaths of Chris Matthews in Victoria Gardens in June 2018, and Jerica Richardson.