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The increase from 2016 to 2020 was driven by many factors, including the ever-increasing number of people living on the streets and the growing dangers they face, such as violence, untreated illnesses and drug supplies. more and more deadly illicit.
From Randy Ferris, 65, killed when a car swerved into a California sidewalk encampment, Justine Belovoskey, 60, who died alone in a tent during a cold snap in Texas, and Anthony Denico Williams, stabbed to death to 20 years in Washington DC, to dozens of young people succumbing to street overdoses, their stories reflect the heartbreaking tragedy of an epidemic of homelessness.
“People who die while homeless are among the most neglected in society,” said Matt Fowle, a University of Washington researcher and co-creator of the organization. Number of homeless deaths. “These are the people who need our help the most and are the least likely to receive it.”
The coronavirus was just one more danger that struggling people on the streets and in shelters have had to deal with over the past two years.
While the federal government makes no effort to count nationwide deaths of people deemed homeless, the Guardian has worked with Fowle to collect local data in major urban areas, where consistent counts of a year to year were available. The striking results stretch from Los Angeles and Seattle to New York, Philadelphia and Miami, to the heartland.
The Guardian analysis counted 18,000 people who died homeless over five years in encampments, on pavements or in shelters, including 5,000 who died in 2020 alone. In most cases, deaths were followed by county coroners and medical examiners, but in a few places only local nonprofits followed suit.