Home­less death data is shock­ing

Toronto Star - - WORLD -

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

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