An interim report on deaths amongst homeless people has found almost one in ten deaths occur on the streets or outdoors, and that the median age of all those who died was 43 years – though it was just 33 for women.
The research said that while mortality for single people experiencing homelessness was high, rates of death for family adult people in the same situation were low.
The report also found a “clear association” with the risk of mortality and the duration of homelessness. The longer a person was homeless the more likely they were to die: in fact a person who was homeless for over 18 months had a mortality rate 8 times that of someone homeless for 6 months or less.
“Essentially a person who was over 18 months homeless had a crude mortality over 8 times higher than a person who was homeless for 6 months or less,” the report said.
It found that “the median age of death for Emergency Accommodation in 2020 was 43 years – with males 46 years and females 33 years.”
“The median age for men was generally consistently higher than the median age for women. It is hard to interpret this data as this could be related to the differing age profile of the male and female population in single homeless emergency accommodation,” the report said.
The interim report was issued by the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) on behalf of the four Dublin Local Authorities, who had commissioned Dr Austin O’Carroll, Health Service Executive (HSE) Clinical Lead for the ‘Dublin Covid-19 Homeless Response’ to review the mortality of persons experiencing homelessness during 2020.
They said that the percentage of homeless deaths that occurred on the street/outdoors has risen from 8.4% in 2015 to 9.3% in 2020, but remains low internationally.
The DRHE said the report can only be finalised when death certificates and inquest reports from the Coroner’s Office and data on deaths in the general population from the Central Statistics Office become available.
The report recommended that greater access be provided to Housing First for longer term homeless, and the extension of overdose prevention and suicide prevention programmes, amongst other measures.