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Homeless deaths on the rise in BC: advocacy group

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Summary

Megaphone report finds 70 per cent increase in BC homeless deaths in 2014

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – There has been a big spike in the number of homeless people dying in this province.

Advocacy group Megaphone‘s report “Still Dying on the Streets” used data from the BC Coroners Service and found at least 46 homeless people died in BC in 2014. That’s a 70 per cent increase over the previous year.

Sean Condon with the organization hopes those numbers prompt the government to take immediate action on affordable housing.

“The true number is much higher,” he argues. “The BC Coroners Service estimates the numbers the number is at least twice as high. We know there are dozens of people are not being accounted for and that is one of our calls for action for the government to do a better job.”

Condon explains these numbers haven’t been seen in this province since about 2008 or 2009.

“We are seeing the results of inaction from all levels of government on creating more affordable safe and secure housing. Again, that is creating more homeless people and that is putting them at great danger and great risk.”

“The best way to prevent homeless deaths is to end homelessness, both street and shelter. All levels of government need to work in coordination to create the social and affordable housing needed to address this crisis,” he adds.

Condon says homeless people are three times as likely to die by “accidental” means and twice as likely to die by homicide and suicide.