By Eric Heinz
San Clemente has had 15 homeless people die within the city in the past four years, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Coroner in a report published Monday, Feb. 25.
Last year, only one homeless person died within the city limits, compared to the four-year high of seven in 2015.
The county saw its homeless mortality rate increase from 126 deaths in 2014 to 210 deaths in 2018.
The report stated that natural causes were the primary cause of death of homeless people, but 44 of the total county deaths last year were the result of drug overdoses. The report did not provide individual causes of death by city.
Only in 2016, per the data compiled, did San Clemente not have a homeless person die.
San Clemente is currently working with Mercy House to conduct homeless outreach. At a City Council meeting Feb. 5, directors with Mercy House said they’ve had some difficulty getting people off the streets because of their ties to local support systems, such as family or friends, and because about half reject any services.