Homelessness a Factor in Early Deaths


At least 70 homeless Torontonians have died so far this year. Fifty-seven of them were male, 29 were over age 50, and 5 were members of Haven Toronto.

“Seventy deaths in a city as wealthy as ours,” states Toronto Councillor Joe Cressy, “is an absolute failure on the part of everyone.” He added, “I just don’t think we can claim to be the world’s most liveable city as 70 people die on our streets.”

This is the first year Toronto has tried to, as accurately as possible, record the number of homeless people to die, along with information about them. If the city had used the same yardstick as last year — relying solely on city shelter information — only 24 deaths would be on the books so far this year.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the medical officer of health, cautioned the sample is limited, more agencies and hospitals are still being engaged to turn over their data, and 70 — 1.8 deaths per week — is almost certainly lower than the actual number of homeless to die.

De Villa concludes, “Being homeless is a significant risk factor for early death.”

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