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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Belfast records street deaths

June 04 2014
One in 18 NI adults has experienced homelessness

At least five people who have used homeless services in Belfast have died since the start of the year, a homeless charity has said.

The Welcome Organisation told the BBC that rough sleepers are dying due to mental and physical illness caused or made worse by the harsh conditions, and has made its own count, though there are no specific statistics on those who die during or after a period of homelessness.

The life expectancy of a homeless person in Northern Ireland is around 47 years.

The number of people sleeping rough in Belfast is rising, according to latest statistics.

All homeless people must register with the Housing Executive before they are able to apply for a bed in a hostel – a process that can take weeks – and there is a limited number of beds in night shelters.

According to a report by homeless charity Crisis, one in 18 (5.7 per cent) of all adults in Northern Ireland had said they had experienced homelessness of some sort, having slept on the streets, in a hostel or in someone else's home.

Amongst reasons given for their homelessness were family breakdown and loss of jobs or benefits.