Aberdeen has the second highest number of homeless deaths with more than one person a month dying in the city, according to new statistics.
Figures released by the National Records of Scotland (NRS) shows the Granite City was second only to Glasgow.
The number of homeless people identified as having died in Aberdeen in 2018 is 12, but the estimated number of deaths is 15.
Comparing this nationally, Aberdeen had 67.8 deaths per million population, Glasgow had 100.5 deaths per million population.
The data from Shetland, which shows a higher rate, is based on “a very small number of deaths so should be treated with caution”.
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The number of homeless people dying in Scotland has increased year on year, with an estimated 195 people dying while living on the streets or in temporary accommodation.
The figures for Aberdeen show a sharp increase from 2017 of around 275%, with four homeless people estimated to have died in the city.
The data from Aberdeenshire has shown a drop from 26 deaths per million population, to 9.8 deaths per million population. There were two identified homeless deaths in the region, with three estimated.
According to the NRS data, more than half of all homeless deaths in Scotland in 2018 were drug-related. Three-quarters of those dying were men.
The latest figures also show Scotland had the highest rate of homeless deaths in Great Britain, with a rate of 35.9 per million population, compared to a figure of 16.8 in England.
Scottish Government Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: “The reasons that lead to homelessness are often very complex, and many people who died while experiencing homelessness will have struggled with complex life challenges including addiction, poor mental health, and family breakdown.
“These challenges are often driven by a history of poverty, childhood adversity and trauma, including deteriorating physical and mental health, poor housing, contact with the criminal justice system, and other issues.
“This report shows that of the number of people who died while experiencing homelessness, 53% were drug related deaths.
“This reflects the wider public health emergency Scotland is facing over drug deaths.
“The next meeting of the Homelessness Prevention and Strategy Group will have a specific focus on public health and addiction issues and both myself and the Public Health Minister will be attending.
“One person being made homeless is one too many and that is why the Scottish Government are working in partnership to transform services to ensure our system supports those at risk.
“While this report is based on experimental statistics, it’s findings will help the Scottish Government to further understand the many issues affecting the most vulnerable in our society and will help us as we double our efforts to eradicate homelessness and it’s causes, in Scotland.”
Grant Campbell, Director of Crisis Scotland, said: “For the first time, we can see the true, devastating scale of the number of people who have died without a place to call home, because of failings within the very system which should have prevented them from falling into poverty and homelessness in the first place.
“Behind these figures are human beings – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters.
“Every death must be fully investigated so that we can learn from the failings which caused someone to die without a home.
“We’re pleased to see commitments from Scottish Government towards ending homelessness, such as the push towards providing long-term homes and wrap around support for those with complex needs, as well as doing more to help people from losing their homes in the first place.
“Despite this, we still have the highest rates of homeless deaths in Great Britain. This is a damning and urgent reminder that we need to do so much more to support some of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Paul Lowe, the chief executive of National Records of Scotland and Registrar General for Scotland, said: “NRS has developed a method of estimating the incidence of homeless deaths in response to user demand.
“It is important to stress that these are experimental statistics and we will continue to work with users and stakeholders to assess their suitability and quality, as we continue to develop our methodology in future years.”