Two people a day died homeless during the pandemic last year, Office for National Statistics figures show.
However the ONS said this figure is likely to be underestimated because it’s hard to identify homeless people in the mortality records.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “To think at least 688 people’s final days were spent homeless in the pandemic is a sobering thought. If it wasn’t for the government’s Covid response to help people off the streets even more lives would have been lost.
“As we head into another hard winter with the virus still circulating, we cannot leave anyone out in the cold. Our services are already being approached by people in need of emergency accommodation, who are being turned away by councils and often told they have no rights.
“The government must step in again to keep people safe from Covid and the ravages of homelessness this winter. Councils need clear guidance to ensure everyone at risk of sleeping rough is offered emergency accommodation, and the funding to provide it.”
The cities with the highest number of estimated homeless deaths were London (143), Liverpool City Region (46), Greater Manchester (35), Birmingham (21), Bristol (20) and Leeds (18).
The average age at death was 45.9 for men and 41.6 for women, more than 30 years lower than the average age at death of the general population of England and Wales.
Some 13 homeless people died with covid-19 listed on their death certificate.