The average age of death of a homeless person is between 40 and 42 years, and a homeless drug user admitted to hospital is seven times more likely to die over the next five years than a housed drug user admitted with the same medical problem.
To be shelterless and alone in the open country, hearing the wind moan and watching for day through the whole long weary night; to listen to the falling rain, and crouch for warmth beneath the lee of some old barn or rick, or in the hollow of a tree; are dismal things – but not so dismal as the wandering up and down where shelter is, and beds and sleepers are by thousands; a houseless rejected creature.
There can be no doubt that the poverty of the working classes of England is due, not to their circumstances (which are more favourable that those of any other working population in Europe); but to their improvident habits and thriftlessness. If they are ever to be more prosperous it must be through self-denial and forethought.
In London there are a number of what may be termed, owing to their wandering, unsettled habits, nomadic tribes…who neither follow a regular pursuit, nor have a permanent place of abode.