Rough sleepers in Milton Keynes are likely to die by the age of 47

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The dozens of people sleeping rough on city streets are not expected to live past an average age of 47, a special report has revealed.

An MK Council task and finish group has spent weeks investigating the link between mental health and homelessness.

Not surprisingly, they deduced there was a “very clear” link.

But their report also gave a grim insight into the physical health challenges of the city’s 130 rough sleepers.

It states: “The physical health of the homeless is always at risk. They routinely suffer from the effects of broken sleep and the weather. They are likely to have little of no income for food, leading to erratic energy levels and the longer term impacts of malnutrition.”

All these conditions increase stress and exacerbate poor mental health, deduces the report, which made a list of recommendations.

They include a special Homelessness Health Audit of outreach services and crisis intervention, and a Right to Healthcare card system to help rough sleepers register with GPs and get medical help.

It also recommends that NHS, council and voluntary sector staff working with the homeless should be trained in “mental health first aid”.

Meanwhile the council has announced funding for 30 extra emergency homeless places this winter but is urging the government to provide more.