Pandemic indirectly contributes to spike in homeless deaths in San Francisco

Authorities in San Francisco say the pandemic indirectly contributed to a spike in the number of homeless people who died in the past two months.

A total of 48 homeless people died, compared to 14 during the same time period last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

City leaders say reasons include more drug overdoses, and the pandemic making it more difficult for the homeless to receive services and find shelter. None appear to be directly related to the coronavirus, according to preliminary Department of Public Health data obtained by The Chronicle. It is not clear how many people were posthumously tested for the virus.

Meanwhile, the next three weeks will be a critical time for counties looking for funding to deal with the homeless crisis during this pandemic.

State lawmakers will be negotiating whether to approve a plan by the governor to waive certain environmental regulations for counties, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

There are also talks about using federal coronavirus money for a plan to convert hotels into homeless housing.

All of this would be included in the upcoming state budget, which must be passed by June 15.