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Deaths of those experiencing homelessness in Reno area skyrocketed in 2022


Nearly 100 people died in 2022, almost double the previous year

The number of people considered indigent by Washoe County – those not having a fixed address – who died in 2022 was nearly double the previous year.

County data requested by This Is Reno shows that deaths of those experiencing homelessness continues to increase year over year with 96 dead in 2022 being the most ever documented.

Annual death increases have been reported since 2016 by This Is Reno, but those increases have never been as large as what Washoe County documented for 2022. 

In August, it appeared those deaths were abnormally high by mid-2022.

Washoe County’s Bethany Drysdale said today: “This is not just a statistic, these are human lives with value. There are too many in our region lost to addiction, accidents, violence or poor mental health, regardless of housing status.”

Those who died in 2022 were mostly males aged 30 and over. Most of the deaths were accidental, with drug intoxication as the most common listed cause. That was followed by vehicle and train accidents, cold/hypothermia and heat/hyperthermia.

Twenty people died of natural causes, there were three suicides, two homicides and nine cases are still pending.

“One of our top goals is diversion: we have brought on more case workers to help divert people into programs and services that may keep them in their homes and very well may save their life,” Drysdale added.

County officials said they could not confirm a December death outside the Cares Campus that was being reported on social media. It was alleged the person died after being denied entry to the homeless campus. A death of an individual happened a few blocks away, however.

The homeless crisis has hit the West Coast particularly hard. In Washoe County, and Nevada in general, a lack of basic mental health services along with skyrocketing housing prices has exacerbated the problem. 

A vigil was held early last year after This Is Reno reported the then-record number of deaths from 2021 at 52, a number that was later increased to 54.

This story is developing and may be updated.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.