Following the research, Crisis – the national charity for single homeless people who commissioned the study – have called for NHS restructuring to consider the needs of people living on the streets.
The report, titled Homelessness Kills: a study of the mortality of homeless people in England in the 21st century was carried out by Dr Bethan Thomas of the University of Sheffield's Department of Geography.
Drawing on different datasets, Dr Thomas analysed more than 1,700 deaths in England for the period 2001–2009 to estimate the average age of death not just for rough sleepers, as previous studies have, but for the wider homeless population, including those who reside in night shelters and homeless hostels.
It revealed the average age of death in the homeless population is just 47, compared to 77 years old in the general population. At the ages of 16–24, homeless people are at least twice as likely to die as their housed contempo