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  1. ITV Report

The death of rough sleepers in Oxford is a 'tragedy playing out on our streets'

Rough sleeping has fallen in Oxford, but deaths of rough sleepers have risen. Photo:

The death of rough sleepers in Oxford is a "national tragedy....playing out on our streets", according to a city councillor.

Four deaths in the last two months have prompted the council to launch an investigation into common factors linking them.

Councillor Linda Smith said the council was "saddened and concerned".

Like many in Oxford, we have been saddened and concerned by the city's recent unexplained deaths of people who were, or had been, rough sleepers. We work hard to help people off the street because our evidence shows that rough sleeping shortens lives. Homelessness is a national tragedy and, in common with many other cities, Oxford is seeing this tragedy playing out on our streets."

– Cllr Linda Smith, Deputy Leader of Oxford City Council

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said she was "shocked and ashamed", calling it a "national scandal".

Homeless people passing away on our streets is a national scandal, and I will be continuing to campaign on these issues both in parliament and locally, to ensure that the lives of homeless people improve both in Oxford and across the country."

– Layla Moran MP, Oxford West and Abingdon, Lib Dem

491 rough sleepers died in the UK in 2017, according to the Office for National Statistics.

In the South East, there were 69 deaths identified as rough sleepers in 2017.

There's been an overall rise in the number of people rough sleeping in Oxford during that time, up from 19 to 61 in 2017.

But that number did fall slightly last year, dropping to 45.

Oxford City Council announced a £2 million project to tackle the issue in October.

The money went towards developing a Homeless Hub in the city, offering emergency accommodation and support to get people off the streets in the long term.