THE head of Eastbourne Advice Centre has called for homeless people and those supporting them to be included in priority groups to receive the covid vaccine.

Andy Winter is Chief Executive of the Brighton Housing Trust, which runs Eastbourne Advice Centre.

Mr Winter said: “People with a history of homelessness are old before their time.

“They have levels of frailty – including unintentional weight loss, feelings of exhaustion, weakness, slow walking speed and low levels of physical activity – comparable to 89-year-olds in the general population.

“Those with no home have an average of seven long-term health conditions, far higher than people in their nineties.

“People with no home die young. The mean age at death of homeless men is 46 years and just 43 years for homeless women as compared to the general population mean age of 76 years for men and 81 years for women.

“Just as residents of care homes are at higher clinical risk of severe disease, so are those who use single homeless hostels and other shared homeless accommodation for rough sleepers.

“Correspondingly, frontline homelessness support workers are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection with covid-19 and of transmitting that infection to susceptible and vulnerable people in shared homelessness accommodation.”

BHT provides 312 homes in Brighton and Hove and 142 elsewhere in East Sussex.