'Heartbreaking': Report On NYC Homeless Deaths Sees Biggest Jump In A Decade

Steve Burns
January 18, 2020 - 3:21 pm
A homeless person on the street in New York

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The city is reporting a big jump in the number of homeless New Yorkers who have passed away, both on the streets and in shelters.

Jacquelyn Simone with the Coalition for the Homeless said she sees this report every year.

“It’s always incredibly heartbreaking,” Simone said.

This year the numbers are especially alarming. City officials said between July 2018 and June 2019 that 404 people considered homeless died in New York City. Seventeen of those deaths were infants.

That’s a 39 percent increase from the prior report and the biggest increase in a decade.

“It’s really challenging for people to get on the path to recovery if they don’t know where they’re sleeping at night,” Simone said.

The top three causes of death, according to the report, were drug addiction, heart disease and alcoholism.

Simone said the numbers correlate with an overall rise in homelessness in the city and beyond.

“It really is a wakeup call for us to recommit ourselves to fighting for a New York City and a world in which no one has to experience homelessness and certainly no one has to experience it at the end of their life,” Simone said.

The city said it’s providing more case workers to help connect the seriously ill with health care and that it’s working to streamline the move from hospitals to shelters.