Homeless people are amongst the most vulnerable in our society. The average age of death of a homeless person is 47 years for men and just 43 for women, as compared to 77 for the general female population.
Drugs and alcohol abuse account for just over a third of all deaths. Homeless people are over 9 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population. Other common causes of death are traffic accidents, infections,falls and violence against them.
Walking around London it is clear that despite significant investment in the NHS and improvements in homelessness services they are not getting the help they need to address their health issues.
Walking around Trafalgar Square, one can’t miss the majestic Georgian church, St Martin-in-the-fields . It is a hospitable, vibrant, open and inclusive, forward thinking community with worship at its heart. The Revd. Dr Sam Wells is full of grace and wisdom. He always speaks to my heart. I look forward to hearing him at the special service being held there on Saturday, the 4th of March for families bereaved by suicide.
This poem by Sir Andrew Motion is a part of an Arts project run by the Church and is inscribed on the balustrade encircling the lightwell in the open space near the church:
Your stepping inwards from the air to earth
Winds round itself to meet the open sky
So vanishing becomes a second birth.
Fare well. Return. Fare well. Return again.
Here home and elsewhere share one mystery.
Here love and conscience sing the same refrain.
Here time leaps up. And strikes eternity.
Crisis research from 2011:
Sir Andrew Motion: