THERE is nothing inevitable about homelessness or about the tragic deaths which are all too often a consequence of a housing system which fails too many people.

It is unacceptable to see lives cut short this way and in one of the world’s wealthiest countries, no one should be dying because of homelessness.

A report by the Office for National Statistics uncovers the shocking fact that 597 homeless people died last year, 32 people in the North-East. The report clearly highlights what is the result of an increasingly fractured system of social security and support.

When someone becomes homeless, we often assume that it’s their own fault because they lived recklessly and blew all their money on drink or drugs. But, 99 per cent of the time, that person has turned to alcohol or drugs in order to escape the psychological torment they are suffering due to a past trauma, often during their formative years.

The increase in the number of deaths among the homeless is nothing short of a national tragedy – especially when we know that homelessness is not inevitable. It’s imperative that government acts now to stop this tragedy once and for all.

Every death of a homeless person is preventable. We must make it everybody’s business to work together to stop this tragic loss of life and stop homelessness from happening in the first place. Throwing money at the issue might not solve all the problems – but it might pay for the much-needed support services.