TWO homeless people died on the streets of the Isle of Wight last year.

According to new figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a third person was believed to have died as they were unaccounted for.

The publication of the figures has coincided with news the Isle of Wight Council is to provide more help for homeless people.

ONS figures show an estimated 726 homeless people in England and Wales died in 2018 — the biggest year on year increase since records began in 2013, and a rise from 597 deaths in 2017.

This winter, the council will provide a new emergency shelter at the former Barton Primary School site in Newport.

The shelter, run by the Salvation Army, will provide rough sleepers with a warm, safe place to sleep and hot food.

It will also enable the council to speak to homeless people and help find somewhere for them to live.

The council has received financial support from a winter fund set up by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, to renovate the site and deliver the service.

Cllr Clare Mosdell, cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing, said the council was very clear no-one should have to sleep rough.

She said: "Living on the streets is one of the most dangerous, frightening and isolating experiences anyone could face.

“In previous years, a variety of churches have done a brilliant job in providing rolling emergency night shelter provision and we pay tribute to all the faith leaders for their compassion and commitment in opening churches for the night.

“However, I believe we should not have to rely on others to fund such a vital service.

"As a council, we have a moral duty of care for our residents and, for that reason, I have worked hard to ensure we can provide what should be a basic human right given to everyone — safe shelter.

"This type of initiative illustrates how the council can make use of its facilities to aid those most in need.

"For me, it is about building trust and helping people to turn their lives around."

Ward Cllr Geoff Brodie said: “We used to have a winter homeless shelter at the current Barton Primary School site after Downside Middle School closed in 2011, but that had to close after the winter in 2015 due to the Barton school move.

“I am pleased to see the old Barton school being used for something that is sadly still much needed by those unfortunate enough to be without a roof over their head.”

The Salvation Army has appealed for volunteers to help at the shelter. For further information, call into the Salvation Army hall at Pyle Street, Newport, on Friday, between 11am and 5pm. Alternatively, call Rachel Lee on 812743 or email

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