AT LEAST 94 homeless people died in Scotland last year.

The data, uncovered by the Ferret – working in partnership with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) – is likely to be a significant under-estimate.

The 94 include 42 deaths recorded in the TBIJ’s UK wide Dying Homeless database, set up last year, along with a further 52 which the Ferret has been made aware of in the last week.

Senior figures in homelessness are calling on the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to urgently investigate the deaths of those who are homeless, and for the statistics to be recorded across the country, as they are with drug deaths.

TBIJ says at least 449 people have died homeless in the last year across the UK, more than one person a day – though this number is also likely to be an underestimate.

Of the UK total recorded in the database so far, 138 people can be publicly identified – more names are known to journalists but have been withheld at the request of those who knew them.

Deaths of the “hidden homeless” including those who were sofa surfing or in prison were also counted.

Almost 70% were men.

The average age of death for men was 49 years old, and for women it was 53.

In Scotland, people who died while homeless included Darren Greenfield, a homeless ex-soldier from the Royal Tank Regiment, who struggled to cope after leaving the army. He died last December after contracting an infection while sleeping rough in Edinburgh.

Two months later an unidentified man was found dead in the city, sleeping rough on a mattress in -5C.

Stephanie Wilson was just 25 when she died in a Dundee hostel the same month.

The Soapwork Lane hostel, managed by housing support group Transform, provides rooms to support some of the most vulnerable people in Dundee, including rough sleepers and people with addictions. Just days earlier a 35-year-old man had also died there.

Dr John Budd, who works for the Edinburgh Access Practice (EAP) and has been recording the deaths of his patients, noted a further 20 deaths.

Two of them had been murdered while homeless.

Figures from the critical incident group set up by Glasgow City Council last year show 47 people with open homelessness assessments died in Glasgow between October 2017 and October 2018. These included people in temporary furnished flats and hostel accommodation.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said the numbers were “a disgrace”.

He added: “Each of these people was someone’s child, someone’s brother, sister, mother or father and their loss will be felt by those around them.”

Brown called on the Scottish Government to allocate some of the recently announced £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund to investigate why people are dying while homeless.

Hugh Hill from Simon Community Scotland, said: “We record drug deaths, we need to record the housing status of people dying.

“We have anecdotal evidence of disproportionately high numbers of deaths but no one is recording deaths whilst homeless.”

Scottish Government Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The avoidable death of any vulnerable person in our society is a tragedy, and preventing and ending homelessness are priorities for the Scottish Government.

“We are working with partners to transform the homelessness system so that people can secure a permanent home, with support for their health and wellbeing if they need this, far more quickly. To support this, we have created a £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund over five years. We are also consulting on a new alcohol and drug treatment strategy which will be supported by an additional £20m annually.”