Cyrenians responds to the latest figures on homeless deaths

5 February 2020

Figures released today from the National Records of Scotland show that 195 people died while homeless in Scotland in 2018 – a 19% rise on 2017.

The figures, which include those in temporary accommodation and those sleeping rough, indicate that Scotland’s homeless death rate at 35.9 per million is more than double that of England, which sits at 16.8 per million.

Most of those who died, 79%, were men.  More than half of all deaths were drug-related, highlighting a link between insecure housing and substance-related harm. The mean age at death was 43 for females and 44 for males. Over a two year period, 13 men aged 15-24 were among those who died.

Ewan Aitken, CEO at Cyrenians, said: “Behind the devastating figures released today, we must remember that there are 195 individual tragedies – individuals who have been utterly failed by the system. Our sympathies go out to all those affected.

“Though we have some of the most progressive housing legislation in the world, this will be of little comfort to those affected, the many that still sleep on our streets, and those who spend way too long stuck in often unsuitable temporary accommodation.

We must do more to prevent people ending up in those tough realities. We must make sure that all sectors – housing, health, justice, and social care – work together to provide an integrated, compassionate, person-centered system that actually works for us all”


For media enquiries, contact Oliver Goulden on or 07825444716

Cyrenians is a charity tackling the causes and consequences of homelessness. Find out more: