Nearly 1,500 Homeless Died on LA Streets

A UCLA study examining deaths among LA’s homeless population during the Covid-19 pandemic reports that 1,493 died in shelters and on the streets.  Nicholas Morgan of the International Business Times reports that most of the deaths over the 17 month study period (March 2020 to July 2021) were not attributed to the virus.  Roughly 40% of those who died on the streets and 60% who died in temporary housing were killed by drug or alcohol overdoses.   So while most Americans were sheltering in their homes, limiting their interaction with others, wearing masks for protection, and being vaccinated, the homeless, who did none of these things were overdosing on drugs or drinking themselves to death.   The fact that the rate of dying from these causes was much higher in government-funded housing than for those sleeping on the sidewalks is disturbing.  Maybe housing should not be the main focus of efforts to address the homeless.  Perhaps putting the homeless in a controlled environment focused on detox, mental health treatment along with job and life skills development might reduce deaths and actually restore some to self sufficiency.  The study also reveals the fact that homeless deaths in LA have been steadily increasing every year since 2014 and has been over 1,000 annually since 2018.

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