The homeless crisis in Los Angeles County has reached deadly proportions, according to a recently released report by California public health officials.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health stated in a report released Tuesday that between 2013 and 2018 the number of people who died while being homeless doubled from 536 to 1,047.
The overall death rate jumped by over a third during that same period of time.
Most of the deaths were caused by drug and/or alcohol overdoses, which accounted for 27 percent of the death rate between 2016 and 2018.
The overdose death rate for homeless individuals was also 26 times higher than the general population, according to the report.
Other causes of death included injury and violence at 24 percent, coronary heart disease at 22 percent, and transportation-related injuries at 9 percent.
Six percent of homeless deaths were caused by homicide, while about 5 percent of deaths were inflicted by suicide during 2016 and 2018.
“This report is tragic, and reflects a true state of emergency on the streets of our community,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, lead author of the motion, in a statement.
“It is unconscionable and inhumane for society to continue to turn a blind eye to this plight. That’s why we recommended that the Board act with urgency and purpose to direct the Department of Public Health to examine and execute strategies that lead to a rapid reduction in these disturbing numbers,” he continued.
Homeless individuals also died earlier than their non-homeless counterparts, according to Tuesday’s report.
On average, homeless people in Los Angeles died around the age of 51, while the average Los Angeles resident’s life expectancy was age 73.
The problem of homelessness in the city does not seem to be getting better. According to data from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), 16 percent more people experienced homelessness between 2018 and 2019— with more than 36,000 people included in this year’s count.
Throughout Los Angeles County, 58,900 experienced homelessness during that same period— a 12 percent increase, according to the data from LAHSA.