Deaths of City street-involved people rise

The number of deaths of City street-involved people has dramatically increased in recent months.

Since August, there have been 13 deaths of people who are connected to the street community in Red Deer. This compares to 16 deaths in a one-year period from August 2009 to August 2010.

“The amount of deaths is really astonishing,” said Jennifer Vanderschaeghe, executive director of the Central Alberta AIDS Network Society. “These people aren’t dying of any specific causes and as far as I know they are non-violent related.

“A lot of street-involved people have health related issues whether it be addiction, mental health, cardiovascular problems, cancer or diabetes.”

She added people involved in Red Deer’s street community often have a difficult time getting the medication they need to treat their health issues.

“Getting prescriptions filled is a really big issue,” said Vanderschaeghe. “There is quite a large number of street-involved people who require prescription medication, but often go without because they can’t afford it.”

Vanderschaeghe said street-involved people aren’t necessarily living on the streets but could be couch surfing at friends’ homes, people who are newly housed or living in the City’s Housing First program.

“A lot of people trickle into a lot of places,” she said. “It’s really about the prevention of folks with chronic disease and treatment.”

Vanderschaeghe said although the number of deaths in the street community is alarming, the number of street-involved people is going down.

“I think we’re getting better at housing and we’re getting better at supporting people once they are house,” she said.

Cpl. Kathe DeHeer, with the Red Deer RCMP, said those who live a high-risk lifestyle are more susceptible to an early death.

“A lot of times these people aren’t accessing the medical care that is necessary for their illness whether it be drug addiction, alcohol addiction or even homelessness,” she said. “Accessing medical care is available for everyone.”

DeHeer added Family and Community Support Services as well as Catholic Social Services offer such necessities for street-involved people.

“Whether or not people access these things is another issue and maybe there is a gap in access,” she said.

Although there have been a high number of deaths amongst street-involved people DeHeer said they have not seen an increase because of it police-wise.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

Just Posted

WATCH: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony welcomes athletes from across Canada

Athletes’ medals unveiled at the official kick-off of 2019 Canada Winter Games

Medals depict Central Alberta landscape and pay tribute to First Nations

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vehicle theft from dealership

Police were able to disable the SUV with assistance from the built-in vehicle assistance system

Alix resident captures beams of light near Lacombe

Lacombe, Blackfalds, Red Deer photos have since gone viral around the world

WATCH: Canada Winter Games are finally here

Final leg of torch relay kicked off at Fort Normandeau

Fashion Fridays: Up your beauty game

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

LOCATED: Innisfail RCMP looking for missing woman

Amanda Kucher was last seen at the Innisfail 7-Eleven on Feb. 15

Red Deer College transforms into Athletes’ Village

Red Deer College’s campus will be home for the athletes during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Alberta minor hockey team, slammed for Indigenous dance video, forfeits season

Parents say season was too dangerous to finish because the team has been threatened

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Father to be charged with first-degree murder in Amber Alert case

11-year-old Riya Rajkumar was found dead in her father’s home in Brampton, Ontario

Red Deer man loses car after being caught twice driving with suspended licence

The Ponoka Integrated Traffic Unit ticketed the man in December and on Valentine’s Day

January home sales were weakest since 2015, average national price falls: CREA

CREA says the national average price for all types of residential properties sold in January was $455,000

Wilson-Raybould’s cabinet move due to departure from team: Trudeau

Jody Wilson-Raybould suddenly quit the cabinet this week, but Trudeau isn’t saying

Most Read