The BC Coroners Service has released updated data on deaths that occurred among homeless individuals in British Columbia to the end of December 2016.
This report summarizes all deaths between 2007 and 2016 where the deceased met the BC Coroners Service definition of homeless. Reportable deaths include all non-natural deaths, and all sudden and unexpected deaths where an individual was not under the care of a physician.
- In 2016, there were 175 deaths of homeless individuals in British Columbia. This figure represents an increase of 140% over the previous number of deaths recorded in 2015.
- In 2016, 86% of accidental deaths (93) and 53% of all deaths resulted from unintentional drug and/or alcohol poisoning.
- In previous years (2007 to 2015), deaths from unintentional drug and/or alcohol poisoning accounted for 63% of accidental deaths and 34% of all deaths on average.
- From 2007 to 2016, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health accounted for 59% of deaths among homeless individuals.
- In 2016, the townships with the most deaths among homeless individuals were Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria and Kelowna.
There are many definitions of homelessness. The information contained in this report includes deaths among homeless persons living outdoors, sheltered homeless and individuals residing in short-term shelters, safe-house or transition-house accommodation for an unknown length of time.
Deaths among homeless individuals: