Leeds Council Admit 13 Rough Sleeper Deaths in 5 Years

The youngest was 29 and the eldest 52 when they died sleeping on the streets of Leeds.

By Amir and Connor, Leeds · June 3, 2020

Pic: Shutterstock

Leeds City Council have admitted that 13 rough sleepers have died in the city over the last five years. 

Three individuals died in 2015 and three in 2016, plus a further five in 2018 and two in 2019, both of whom were women aged 45 and 33. 

Ten of these individuals were male; the youngest was 29 and the eldest 52. A 66-year-old female died in 2015.

The Council shared the data with the media literacy charity The Student View following a Freedom of Information request. They stated that no rough sleepers lost their lives on the streets in 2017.

The council went on to confirm that “there is no single budget for supporting rough sleepers within the Local Authority.”

Justifying this, a spokesperson continued, “as a population, the needs of rough sleepers are often complex and cut across many Directorates and services (both directly and indirectly ) for example; housing, adult social care, public health and community safety. 

“Service delivery is often a combination of statutory, commissioned services and in collaboration with local charities. In addition, where funding is available from central government, we will apply for funding to support and improve delivery.

“In 2019/20, Leeds was awarded £385,000 through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) as part of the multi-agency Leeds Street Team to directly support work with rough sleepers.”

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities, said: “Every death is a tragedy, and we are continuing to work extremely hard with partners and charities to ensure that a wide range of meaningful support is in place to help those in need.

“The complex range of issues associated with rough sleeping encompasses many different Leeds City Council services, from housing to adult social care to public health. Funding is provided through the individual budgets of services to support specific needs and signposting to others services.

“Direct and targeted assistance is also offered through the Leeds Street Support Team. This team was formed in 2018 to further increase the support available to rough sleepers.

“Members of the team work tirelessly every day to tackle rough sleeping and the issues associated with rough sleeping which includes acute medical needs, mental ill health, long term chronic health conditions, drug and alcohol addiction and trauma often suffered in childhood and continuing through the decision to live a street based lifestyle.

“They work closely with those who are rough sleeping and offer routes to accommodation, both on a night and in the long-term, and to specialised help. The team works incredibly hard to support clients to take those first very tentative steps into their new world, keeping in touch with them and responding to any signs of relapse.

“Not all of these offers are taken up for a variety of reasons, many of which are complex. We will be continuing to do everything possible to ensure that as many people as possible that are rough sleeping take up our continued offers of both accommodation and tailored support that are available.”