A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto now counting the deaths of homeless people”

Part of me is surprised by the news, as reported by the Toronto Star‘s Kenyon Wallace and Mary Ormsby, that Toronto was not keeping systematic track of the many hundreds of homeless dead. More of me is unsurprised.

Toronto’s top public health official says the city’s new program to track all homeless deaths will provide invaluable data to better assist and house vulnerable populations.

“The full scope of this problem has been unknown,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto’s Acting Medical Officer of Health, speaking at the Church of the Holy Trinity.

“What we needed was information from the many health and social service agencies which work closely with individuals experiencing homelessness or who are marginally housed.”

The initiative, which began Jan. 1, was officially launched Tuesday with a press conference at the church, the site of the Toronto Homeless Memorial where an unofficial list is kept of more than 800 GTA homeless people who died since the mid-1980s.

The tracking system will collect information such as age, gender, unofficial cause of death and the location of the death, and whether the deceased is of indigenous heritage, said Yaffe. Names will be kept confidential.

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Written by Randy McDonald

January 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm

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