Kelowna has embarked on an ambitious five-year, $46.7 million plan to address homelessness in the city called the Journey Home Initiative. —Image: Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna has embarked on an ambitious five-year, $46.7 million plan to address homelessness in the city called the Journey Home Initiative. —Image: Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna 4th worst city in B.C. for homeless deaths

A report from BC Coroners Service reveals the most recent numbers from 2007 to 2016

People experiencing homelessness in Kelowna face dangerous conditions in the city.

BC Coroners Service reported that Kelowna was the fourth most dangerous city for homeless people in the province after 10 reported deaths of a person who was homeless in Kelowna in 2016.

The report reveals that in 2016, there were 175 deaths of homeless individuals in B.C., a 140 per cent increase from the 37 deaths in 2015. From 2007 t0 2016, there was an average of 55 deaths of homeless people per year in the province.

READ MORE: Kelowna homelessness count shows more people without shelter

READ MORE: Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

In early 2018, a consultant put the Kelowna homeless count close to 2,000, and since then Kelowna has fought to reduce the dangers and poor conditions for the city’s homeless with the Journey Home Strategy as well as efforts from Kelowna Gospel Mission among others.

Data from the report shows that 85 per cent of the deaths were men, 54 per cent were aged between 40 to 59, and 56 per cent were accidental.

In 2016, 86 per cent of accidental deaths and 53 per cent of all deaths were were from unintentional drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s formerly homeless showing support for Journey Home project

As the B.C. opioid crisis continues, the coroners service said that the numbers from the report may be under-reported due to complications confirming a person’s living status.

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