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1 homeless person died every 6 days in Sacramento County for the past 19 years, report finds

The report said there were 1,307 homeless deaths from 2002 through 2020.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — The Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness (SRCEH) released a report on the death toll of unhoused people in the Sacramento region on Tuesday. 

The coalition says the report serves as a way to inform "Sacramento City Council’s recent action on the City’s Comprehensive Homeless Siting Plan." 

The report finds that, in 2020, 62.6% of homeless people's cause of death was classified as accidental. In 2002 to 2014, homeless deaths were at 29% and classified as natural causes. Killings and suicides of homeless people increased in 2020 to 3% compared to 1.6% in 2019.

According to the report, 36.5% of homeless whites' deaths were ruled accidental and, disproportionately, 27% of accidental deaths are people of color. 

But the report underscores the major underlying causes of death to be use of substances at 41.6% followed by injury at 22% and cardiovascular diseases at 16.1%. It also claims that respiratory issues account for 88.3% of all the underlying causes of deaths of the homeless population. 

Women died at a higher rate from substance abuse than men with 42.1% compared to 40.4% of men. 

23 people died from blunt force head injuries in 2020, which accounted for 16.7% of total homeless deaths in 2020. 

The SRCEH Board of Directors recommend policymakers address systemic racism to "advance racial equity." Continuum of Care (CoC) Racial Equity Committee released recommendations to address the issue. 

The board recommends the usage of the City/County $100 million Affordable Housing Trust Fund. They say this will increase the supply of affordable housing. 

The board also recommends the implementation of the Sacramento's homeless siting plan which allocates $100 million to people experiencing homelessness over two years. The plan as the report states will identify an initial 20 sites for facilities that include Safe Ground, Safe Parking, and tiny homes for the unhoused. 

The data for the report was provided by the Sacramento County Coroner's Office and data analysis was conducted by Bob Erlenbusch the Executive Director of SRCEH. 

To view the report click HERE. 

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