Homeless death data is shocking
Re Tracking homeless deaths has failed to offer
solutions, June 14 The headline for this article doesn’t do justice to the good work being done by the city to track homeless deaths, which only began Jan. 1. I have no doubt the data will offer solutions, but give them a chance. There is no “rough science” or need for autopsies, as suggested by Councillor Joe Mihevc.
The article suggests an anonymity to the deaths, which is not exactly accurate. When a John or Jane Doe name is added to the memorial, they are usually known, but for legal reasons and due to confidentiality, their names are not released to our Homeless Memorial group at the Church of the Holy Trinity. What the city is doing now is throwing a wide net to capture all the circumstances and demographics of the deaths.
The city now has a few months of data that, for the most part, includes gender, Aboriginal identity, cause of death, location of death and relevant circumstances. The three-month data alone is shocking and should be pause for reflection.
In those three months, 27 men and women died. That’s two deaths per week. The average age was 51, about 30 years younger than the Stats Canada average. It’s what we suspected but now there is hard data.
I seriously think we can offer solutions. The city and the medical officer of health must recognize the enormous community concern, and work with us to protect homeless people. Cathy Crowe, street nurse, member of the Homeless Memorial Group at Church of the Holy Trinity