Victims or deceased names: – The article does not provide specific names of the victims or deceased individuals. : “Sharp Increase in Homeless Deaths: Vernon Sees 225% Rise, Kelowna Up by 27%”

Death – Obituary – Accident and Crime News : The homeless crisis in Vernon has reached a critical point, with a shocking increase in the number of homeless individuals who tragically lost their lives in 2022. According to a recent report from the BC Coroners Service, the local community saw a staggering 225 percent rise in homeless deaths, surging from four in 2021 to 13 in 2022. While the increase in Kelowna was not as drastic, it still saw a rise from 11 deaths in 2021 to 14 deaths in 2022.

These distressing statistics place both Vernon and Kelowna on a list of the top 11 communities in British Columbia grappling with this issue. The list also includes Kamloops, Vancouver, Surrey, Victoria, Abbotsford, Prince George, Chilliwack, Nanaimo, and Langley. Collectively, these communities witnessed a total of 342 deaths among individuals experiencing homelessness in 2022. This alarming figure represents a 138 percent increase in deaths among the unhoused population over the past two years.

Examining the period from 2015 to 2022, it becomes evident that there have been 1,464 deaths involving homeless individuals in British Columbia. This equates to an average of 183 deaths per year. However, the numbers significantly surpassed this average in 2021 and 2022, marking a disturbing trend.

The BC Coroners Service report also sheds light on the demographics of the deceased. Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those who lost their lives were aged between 30 and 59, and a striking 82 percent were male.

Among the various factors contributing to the rising death toll among the homeless population, the toxic drug supply emerges as a leading cause. This issue has affected not only Vernon and Kelowna but also communities across British Columbia. More than 80 percent of deaths during the review period were categorized as accidental, with over 90 percent of those accidents attributed to unregulated drugs.

Tracing back the data, it is distressing to note the increasing number of deaths in Vernon and Kelowna in recent years. In 2015, Vernon recorded two deaths, followed by five in 2016, one in 2017, seven in 2018, one in 2019, and two in 2020. Similarly, Kelowna witnessed three deaths in 2015, 10 in 2016, 12 in 2017, seven in 2018, four in 2019, and five in 2020.

The severity of the homeless crisis in British Columbia is a cause for concern, demanding urgent and comprehensive action from authorities and community leaders. The devastating loss of life among the unhoused population underscores the need for increased support, resources, and solutions to address this pressing issue.

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