Homeless deaths spiked in Kelowna, Kamloops in 2016 - InfoNews

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Homeless deaths spiked in Kelowna, Kamloops in 2016

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March 21, 2019 - 12:51 PM

KELOWNA - A new report from the B.C. Coroners Service shows homeless deaths in Kelowna rose sharply in 2016, mostly due to accidental overdoses.

The coroner's service released an updated data report which collects the number and causes of homeless deaths in B.C. going back to 2007. The updated report includes deaths from 2016, showing a significant leap in Kelowna.

Kelowna ranked fourth in B.C. for having the most homeless deaths, trailing behind Surrey, Victoria, and Vancouver. The 10 homeless deaths in 2016 was up from three deaths in 2015. Kamloops, which ranked ninth for most homeless deaths, also saw a steep increase in deaths, going from one in 2015 to seven in 2016.

According to coroner spokesperson Andy Watson, homeless deaths were up across the board in B.C. in 2016. While 86 per cent of all deaths were deemed accidental, 53 per cent resulted from drug or alcohol poisoning.

Other causes of death were suicide, homicide, natural and undetermined. The report looked specifically at homeless people living on the street and in shelters.

175 homeless people died in BC in 2016. 147 men died compared to 28 women.

Another report from the coroners service last month showed overdose deaths were dipping slightly in the Okanagan, although they remain a persistent problem.

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