[Hpn] 94 deaths of homeless people highlight lack of care

William Charles Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Tue, 05 Dec 2006 06:36:49 -0500


This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

------=_NextPart_000_0024_01C71837.BE0E13D0
Content-Type: text/plain;
	charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

94 deaths of homeless people highlight lack of care

Full story: =
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003462264_homeless05m.ht=
ml

By Warren King
Seattle Times staff reporter


If you're homeless in King County, you'll likely live about 30 fewer =
years than other people in the country.

You're also about eight times more likely to commit suicide, compared =
with U.S. averages. You're about twice as likely to die in an accident. =
And you have 13 times the chance of being murdered.

That's based on a report on homeless deaths released Monday by Public =
Health -- Seattle & King County, which studied nearly 100 King County =
residents who died without a home last year.

"It's very disturbing," said Janna Wilson, director of the county's =
Healthcare for the Homeless Network. "These people have a lot of =
barriers to early and preventive health care."

In 2005, 94 homeless people died, up 15 percent from 2004 and 22 percent =
from 2003. And with an average age of 47, they were relatively young =
compared with the current U.S. life expectancy of 77-=BD years.

The numbers are derived only from cases that came before the King County =
Medical Examiner's Office. Many more homeless people died of chronic =
diseases, such as diabetes and gastrointestinal illness, while finally =
under the care of clinics, so the medical examiner didn't investigate, =
Wilson said.

Wilson said there are no clear explanations for the increases in deaths, =
from 82 deaths in 2004 and 77 deaths in 2003. But drug and alcohol =
deaths were a concern. Thirty died of acute intoxication in 2005, =
compared to 20 in 2004.

"Like previous studies of homeless deaths, the causes ... continue to =
reflect the harsh realities and risks faced by those who live on the =
streets and in shelters -- chronic health conditions, traumas and the =
troubling role of alcohol and drugs," the report said.

King County has about 8,000 homeless people. Public Health nurses and =
substance-abuse experts seek them out in shelters and on the streets to =
try to steer them toward care at community health clinics and at =
Harborview Medical Center.

But other factors get in the way, including mental illness, drug and =
alcohol addiction and a lack of transportation to the clinics, Wilson =
said.

"They all cause delays in care," she said. "It can be very challenging."

Only about one-third of the King County homeless people who died in 2005 =
had seen a health-care provider during the year, the report said.

Wilson notes that recent state legislation has been designed to help =
communities end homelessness. And Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has =
proposed $3 million in the 2007 city budget for a new initiative against =
homelessness.

"We hope these new measures will help get the numbers [of deaths] going =
in the other direction," Wilson said.



Warren King: 206-464-2247 or wking@seattletimes.com



------=_NextPart_000_0024_01C71837.BE0E13D0
Content-Type: text/html;
	charset="iso-8859-1"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<HTML><HEAD>
<META http-equiv=3DContent-Type content=3D"text/html; =
charset=3Diso-8859-1">
<META content=3D"MSHTML 6.00.2900.2995" name=3DGENERATOR>
<STYLE></STYLE>
</HEAD>
<BODY bgColor=3D#ffffff>
<DIV>94 deaths of homeless people highlight lack of care</DIV>
<DIV><BR>Full story: <A=20
href=3D"http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003462264_homele=
ss05m.html">http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2003462264_ho=
meless05m.html</A><BR><BR>By=20
Warren King<BR>Seattle Times staff reporter<BR><BR><BR>If you're =
homeless in=20
King County, you'll likely live about 30 fewer years than other people =
in the=20
country.<BR><BR>You're also about eight times more likely to commit =
suicide,=20
compared with U.S. averages. You're about twice as likely to die in an =
accident.=20
And you have 13 times the chance of being murdered.<BR><BR>That's based =
on a=20
report on homeless deaths released Monday by Public Health -- Seattle =
&amp; King=20
County, which studied nearly 100 King County residents who died without =
a home=20
last year.<BR><BR>"It's very disturbing," said Janna Wilson, director of =
the=20
county's Healthcare for the Homeless Network. "These people have a lot =
of=20
barriers to early and preventive health care."<BR><BR>In 2005, 94 =
homeless=20
people died, up 15 percent from 2004 and 22 percent from 2003. And with =
an=20
average age of 47, they were relatively young compared with the current =
U.S.=20
life expectancy of 77-=BD years.<BR><BR>The numbers are derived only =
from cases=20
that came before the King County Medical Examiner's Office. Many more =
homeless=20
people died of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and gastrointestinal =
illness,=20
while finally under the care of clinics, so the medical examiner didn't=20
investigate, Wilson said.<BR><BR>Wilson said there are no clear =
explanations for=20
the increases in deaths, from 82 deaths in 2004 and 77 deaths in 2003. =
But drug=20
and alcohol deaths were a concern. Thirty died of acute intoxication in =
2005,=20
compared to 20 in 2004.<BR><BR>"Like previous studies of homeless =
deaths, the=20
causes ... continue to reflect the harsh realities and risks faced by =
those who=20
live on the streets and in shelters -- chronic health conditions, =
traumas and=20
the troubling role of alcohol and drugs," the report said.<BR><BR>King =
County=20
has about 8,000 homeless people. Public Health nurses and =
substance-abuse=20
experts seek them out in shelters and on the streets to try to steer =
them toward=20
care at community health clinics and at Harborview Medical =
Center.<BR><BR>But=20
other factors get in the way, including mental illness, drug and alcohol =

addiction and a lack of transportation to the clinics, Wilson =
said.<BR><BR>"They=20
all cause delays in care," she said. "It can be very =
challenging."<BR><BR>Only=20
about one-third of the King County homeless people who died in 2005 had =
seen a=20
health-care provider during the year, the report said.<BR><BR>Wilson =
notes that=20
recent state legislation has been designed to help communities end =
homelessness.=20
And Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has proposed $3 million in the 2007 city =
budget=20
for a new initiative against homelessness.<BR><BR>"We hope these new =
measures=20
will help get the numbers [of deaths] going in the other direction," =
Wilson=20
said.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Warren King: 206-464-2247 or <A=20
href=3D"mailto:wking@seattletimes.com">wking@seattletimes.com</A><BR></DI=
V><FONT=20
face=3DArial size=3D2>
<DIV><BR></FONT>&nbsp;</DIV></BODY></HTML>

------=_NextPart_000_0024_01C71837.BE0E13D0--