THIRTY THREE homeless people are estimated to have died on the streets of Oxford in five years, making the city one of the country’s worst hot spots.

According to a ‘devastating’ new report on homeless deaths between 2013 and 2017, the city saw ten fatalities in both 2016 and 2017 – but campaigners believe the true figure could be even higher.

That means that in 2017, only Blackburn and neighbouring Darwen had a higher rate of homeless deaths than Oxford across all of England and Wales, when weighted by population.


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The city’s rate was 8.1 homeless deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 10.2 for Blackburn with Darwen. London’s Camden was third, with 7.4.

And the new statistics, released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), do not account for a recent spate in deaths, which has seen the homeless community rocked by as many as six fatalities between just November and February.

Publishing its first report on homeless deaths, the ONS’s ‘experimental statistics’ suggest that across the Oxford, Cherwell and West Oxfordshire districts, there were 40 estimated death in total during the period.

Oxford Mail: Graphic produced with CanvaGraphic produced with Canva

The figure for ‘identified deaths’ for the county is lower, at 33.

And there were 27 identified deaths in Oxford city alone.

There were no deaths estimated or identified in the districts of Vale of White Horse or South Oxfordshire, ONS said, adding that data for 2018 is due to be published this summer.

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds said: “I am extremely concerned to hear about these statistics.

“Over recent years the situation has got vastly worse, with house prices increasingly out of step with peoples’ wages and social security support. The sharp end of this is of course Oxford’s very concerning numbers of rough sleepers and the figures on local deaths reported today are deeply disturbing.

“We desperately need more genuinely affordable and social housing, much stronger regulation of the private sector, and a social security system which reflects the costs of areas like our own.”


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Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran added: “These findings are devastating - this is a disgrace.”

"I am deeply saddened to hear about not only the number of deaths in Oxford but also the fact that people are still being criminalised for being homeless.”

Last week the Oxford Mail confirmed that a man found dead in a churchyard earlier this month was sleeping rough. His death follows those of Sharron Maasz, Aron Gibson and Czeslaw ('Chester') Mazak.

Other reports have also referred to a man named 'Simon' but Oxford City Council claim both he and Otis Galloway were not homeless when they died.


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City councillor Shaista Aziz, a co-founder of the Labour Homelessness Campaign, added: “The methods used to count rough sleepers need to be updated. The system isn’t capturing the true magnitude of the crisis.

“(Yesterday’s) data is devastating and once again shows the magnitude of the rough sleeping crisis in Oxford and the country. All local authorities, including Oxford, should count every death on the streets, in temporary accommodation and shelters.”

Homelessness campaigner Monica Gregory, from Women’s Hope Forum, questioned how the data was collected and said she thought the true figure would be higher.

The ONS used death registrations to compile its data and included people sleeping rough or using emergency accommodation ‘at or around the time of death’.


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The organisation admits it is ‘a robust but conservative estimate, so the real numbers may still be higher’.

Its report estimates that 2,627 homeless people died in England and Wales from 2013 to 2017.

Ben Humberstone, the deputy director for health analysis and life events, explained: “Understanding a problem is the first step to solving it, and producing these statistics will help society make better decisions to tackle homelessness and stop homeless people dying in our communities.

“These statistics aren’t just numbers, behind each death is the story of some of the most vulnerable members of society.”

Oxford City Council highlighted that the ONS data was a trial and said it was 'not aware' of how the numbers were arrived at.

It has said it will review the recent deaths and is planning to provide accommodation for all rough sleepers in time for next winter.

Homeless Oxfordshire, West Oxfordshire District Council and Cherwell Council were approached for comment.