Between July of 2018 and June of last year, 404 people considered homeless in New York City died. Those deaths represent a 39 percent increase over the prior year, the largest year over year increase in a decade. They died in hospitals, shelters, outside the entrance of a building, on a subway car, in an abandoned building, and in a vacant lot. The majority of them were middle-aged men. Many were plagued by drug addictions, alcoholism, and heart disease.
“Like across the country, the tragic deaths of our clients are driven by chronic health conditions due to decades of risk factors,” said Steve Banks, Commissioner of the Department of Social Services. “As opposed to safety within the shelter.”
The data on these deaths comes from an annual report mandated by city law. According to the report, the top five causes of death were drugs, heart disease, alcoholism, unspecified accidents, and cancer. More than a third were either living on the streets or somewhere else other than a shelter.