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City's shelter system sees deadliest year in 2020

A homeless person is seen in downtown Toronto, on Wednesday, January 3, 2018. Newly released government figures suggest a rising number of newcomers to Canada are ending up in shelters or are finding themselves homeless. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

2020 was the deadliest year for the City’s shelter system.

74 shelter users died last year, a more than 50 per cent increase from 2019, the next most fatal year reported.

The data from Toronto Public Health is still incomplete for 2020, but it does show between January and June 7, the per cent of the deaths were due to COVID-19.

RELATED: City fire crews respond to flurry of fires across several Toronto homeless encampments

Nearly half in the same time period died from still pending or unknown causes.

The City’s shelter, support and housing administration tells the Toronto Star the primary reason for the increase in deaths last year was due to a spike in suspected overdoses, with 32 in 2020 compared to 13 for all of 2019, and five through 2018.

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