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    UK Homelessness Increase, Cold Weather Could Result in More Deaths on Streets

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    The growing number of homeless people on the streets of the United Kingdom as severe winter weather hits the country could result in an increase in deaths.

    LONDON (Sputnik) — In recent days, the United Kingdom has been affected by heavy snows, freezing rains and cold weather, with temperatures falling below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) across the country. On Monday, meteorologists working in Shropshire country registered a drop in temperature to 13 degrees Celsius below zero.

    At the same time, the figures from the UK Department for Communities and Local Government said that in September, about 80,000 households, including over 120,000 children, were homeless in September. The statistics showed that this number has been rapidly increased since 2010, while the number of homeless in July to September alone increased by over 15,000 people. According to the housing charity Shelter, there are more than 300,000 people homeless in the country.

    Tasmin Maitland, the head of innovation and good practice at the Homeless Link charity told Sputnik that despite the fact that there was no national system collecting information on the deaths of homeless people, the weather has clearly contributed to the increase in the number of deaths on the streets.

    "There are deaths on the streets every year, but it's been a long time since we've had a winter that's been this cold… Unfortunately there is no central way of recording how many people die when sleeping rough. At the moment there is no national data set to indicate how many people die when homeless and how many people die when on the streets, but each year there are deaths and the severe weather is a contributing factor," Maitland said.

    Reporters from UK Channel Four interviewed a number of homeless people on the streets of Manchester, who told the journalists that they were aware of a number of deaths that happened because of cold weather.

    Charities like Homeless Link try to support the homeless amid the existing developments but are only aided by the efforts of local authorities — the groups claim that the nation as a whole has not addressed these problems.

    "We're seeing some areas doing particular activities to provide protection against the weather, but it is a local response so it does vary from place to place and how much provision there actually is available," Maitland said.

    She added that local responses were not enough and stressed the need for a statutory response.


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