Some 1,493 homeless people died on the streets of Los Angeles (California, USA) from March 2020 to July 2021, according to a research from the University of California on the impact of the pandemic on the homeless population.
The homelessness crisis is a serious problem that Los Angeles authorities have had to grapple with during the pandemic, and the measures taken to address this crisis appear to have been insufficient.
According to the report ‘We Do Not Forget: Stolen Lives of LA’s Unhoused During the covid-19 Pandemic’, published on December 1, the highest number of deaths occurred on the sidewalks, a total of 542 people.
The deceased were also found in parking lots, alleys, tents, parks, railways, temporary camps, bus stops, shelters, river beds, underpasses, lots, abandoned buildings, beaches, hillsides and public services. The deaths occurred for different reasons: 48% were classified as accidental, 19% from natural causes, 13% as homicides, and 9% as suicides.
Additionally, another 418 people were reported to have died in hotel or motel rooms during the health crisis. Last year the authorities launched an initiative to provide housing for the homeless and protect them against covid-19. The project called Roomkey offers homeless people rooms in hotels as temporary accommodation. Therefore, the researchers consider that this number should be added to the official data.
The average age of the deceased is 47 years and the most frequent cause was accidental overdose. Ananya Roy, director of the Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy at the University of California, said this early age of death was especially concerning.
“The fact that people die in the open air and on the sidewalks is a failure of the State”, declared Chloe Rosenstock, co-author of the report.