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.

Just Posted

WATCH: Helping those less fortunate at Christmas

Red Deer comes together to spread joy at Christmas Wish Breakfast

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

Klaus trial continues with cross-examination of undercover officers

The Castor-area triple homicide trial continued on Friday

WATCH: Red Deerians get a taste of robotics

Alberta students show off their skills in Red Deer

Red Deer RCMP make high volume of arrests

Numerous suspects arrested in relation to property crime offences

WATCH: Red Deerians come together to ‘light the night’

Traditional Red Deer Lights the Night sees thousands

Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau

Thousands were fired from the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Bank of Canada cautious of future rate hikes

The Bank of Canada remains cautious on future rate hikes due to low- inflation risk

London theatre received allegations against Kevin Spacey

The theatre said Thursday the 20 allegations deal with incidents between 1995 and 2013.

Da Vinci’s Christ painting sells for record $450M

The painting, “Salvator Mundi,” Latin for “Savior of the World,” is one a few paintings by Leonardo known to exist

Loblaws closing 22 stores, launching home delivery ahead of ‘difficult year’

“We are excited about our future. But…we expect 2018 will be a difficult year,” said Galen G. Weston, Loblaw CEO.

Walk of Fame bash celebrates David Suzuki, Donovan Bailey, Anna Paquin

Suzuki says he’ll be thinking of his late parents as he accepts the honour

Trudeau to personally unveil Liberals’ peacekeeping plan

This marks Canada’s first tangible step back into peacekeeping

Most Read