AN EMERGENCY call has been made for councillors to discuss the number of homeless deaths in York.

After the Press revealed that 11 homeless people died in York in 2017, Councillor Kallum Taylor, a member of the health, housing and adult social care scrutiny committee, has called for the issue to be an emergency point of discussion at a meeting next week.

Cllr Taylor said: “The news that 11 homeless people died in our city in 2017 is truly shocking. It’s completely unacceptable that a whole year has passed before the public was made aware that this was the case.

“I’m calling for councillors to take this issue seriously and agree, in the first instance, to discuss it as an urgent item at our scheduled housing scrutiny meeting on Tuesday.”

Cllr Taylor said he also wanted “to see how the council and other agencies are going to improve their work together to look beyond the challenges people face, and ensure that everything possible is done to prevent more homeless deaths in our city”.

Michael Melvin, interim director of health, housing and adult social care at City of York Council, said the matter would be raised at Tuesday’s meeting, and provided fresh details about homeless deaths in recent years.

In 2014, there were three - one on the street, two in supported accommodation. In 2015 there were four deaths and in 2016 there were two - all in supported accommodation.

In 2018, the council said eight homeless people died, all of whom were being supported by the council in accommodation, taking the total number of people without permanent homes who died in York since 2014 to 28.

Mr Melvin said: “Any death on or off the streets is a tragedy which we work tirelessly to prevent. We have looked hard at them all to try and understand why people have died in such circumstances and why in York. Behind these statistics are real people, and the figures don’t tell the whole story. We know there’s still much more to do.”

The council secured £193,000 to create a team of outreach workers to speak with and assist rough sleepers in 2018/2019, and another £251,000 for 2019/2010.

Cllr Taylor’s statement follows York Central MP Rachael Maskell highlighting the figures to Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday.

Ms Maskell told Mrs May the Government’s action on reducing homelessness was not working. Mrs May acknowledged that any death on the street was “one too many”, and the Government had committed to ending to rough sleeping by 2027.

Cllr Taylor added: “This should not have to wait any longer, these outcomes do not have to be inevitable, and those lost lives cannot be left as mere statistics.

“Until we understand the circumstances around how all these tragedies happened, we cannot be confident the budgets agreed for housing and public health are at the right level.”