Beyond Tara And George2019021120190503 (R4)

In the six months since Radio 4 shared the stories of Tara and George, a pair of rough sleepers on the streets of east London, the Government has published statistics that reveal the true toll of being homeless - last year there were nearly six hundred deaths on the streets of the UK and the average life expectancy has fallen again.

Tara and George, as well as being familiar figures in their neighbourhood, are also on the radar of local agencies and charities. George has a regular hostel place; Tara's situation is more complex. But, as they revealed to Audrey Gillan in an intimate series of documentaries last summer, sleeping rough is typically a symptom of myriad other issues.

In this follow-up documentary recorded during the new year's first Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, Audrey catches up with Tara and George to see how they're coping with the cold and she pursues a simple question, prompted by attendance at a memorial service at St Martin-in-the-Fields for those who've died on the streets in the last year - what would it take to prevent the unnecessary deaths of homeless people?

Produced by Alan Hall
A Falling Tree production for BBC Radio 4

Audrey Gillan examines why so many homeless people are dying on our streets.

The story of two rough sleepers on the streets of east London.