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Two Homeless Persons a Month Die in Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

May 4, 2022 -- Nine homeless people died on Santa Monica's sidewalks. Five were found dead in parks and four on the beach. Another four died in their vehicles.

A total of 17 homeless individuals died from drug overdoses, while another 13 suffered from heart conditions that led to their deaths. Seven committed suicide. One was a victim of homicide.

They were among the 54 homeless persons who died in the affluent coastal city over the past two years -- 24 in 2020 and 30 last year, according to data from the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner analyzed by the Lookout.

The reports were requested without the names of the deceased in order to obtain a more thorough picture of where and when they died and the cause of their deaths.

The two-page Excel spreadsheet provided by the Coroner offers a glimpse of those who never made it off the streets in a City that has arguably provided more services, shelter and help than any other in LA County.

Of those who died, 45 were men and nine were women. The youngest was 26, the oldest 71.

Sixteen of those who died were in their 30s, another 16 in their fifties. Ten were in their 60s, eight in their 40s, three in their 20s and one was in his 70s.

Thirty-one of those who died were White, 13 were Black, nine were Hispanic and one was a Pacific Islander.

Of those who overdosed on drugs, nine took a combination of Fentanyl and Methamphetamine. Fentanyl was involved in four other deaths and Methamphetamine in three.

One died from an overdose of heroin, one of cocaine and a third died of an overdose of ethanol, or grain alcohol.

The death toll among the homeless in Santa Monica mirrored that of the County. Last year 30 homeless persons died among a population of 985 homeless individuals counted in Santa Monica in January 2020.

The 3 percent death rate mirrors the County rate of approximately 2,000 deaths among the 66,436 homeless individuals counted in 2020.

As was the case countywide, far fewer homeless people in Santa Monica -- a total of four -- died of respiratory ailments during the coronavirus pandemic than they did of drug overdoses or suicide.

The seven homeless persons who took their lives included a 57-year-old man who stepped in front of an oncoming train, a 34-year-old man who jumped from a freeway overpass and a 53-year-old woman who shot herself in her RV.

They also included a 26-year-old woman, a 27-year-old woman, a 31-year-old man and a 35-year-old man who jumped to their deaths from public structures.

Of the 25 "event places" that listed a location for a death, ten were in the 90401 zip code that includes the Downtown, while nine were in the 90405 zip code that encompasses Ocean Park and Sunset Park.

Three deaths took place in the 90403 zip code that stretches east and west across the city between Wilshire Boulevard and Montana Avenue, and another three in the 90403 zip code east of Downtown.

No homeless person died in the affluent North of Montana 90402 zip code.

Among the "death places" listed in 2020 and 2021, 15 were hospitals. But homeless people also died in hotels (three), private residences (three), two businesses, an alley and an apartment stairwell.

Santa Monica Mayor Sue Himmelrich gave the following statement after she was informed of the data.

"I am ashamed that so many people died alone and without a roof or a bed in my city, and will continue to search for and work to implement programs that will prevent these unnecessary inhuman losses," Himmelrich said.

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