Number of Hypothermia Deaths Increase After the Shutdown of a Homeless Shelter

The Atlanta City Council held a meeting last month to discuss increasing concerns of homeless deaths in Atlanta due to winter temperatures.


The city saw a spike in homeless deaths involving cold-exposure after the Peachtree-Pine shelter officially shut down in August of 2017.


Between January of 2017 and January of 2019, 19 homeless people died in Atlanta due to freezing temperatures. This is significantly higher than years before and is likely caused by the shutdown of the Peachtree-Pine shelter. 


Between 2007-2016, there was an average of 4.3 annual homeless deaths to cold-exposure. In the 2018 calendar year alone, a staggering 14 homeless people died to cold-exposure.


Peachtree-Pine was described as “low-barrier shelter”, meaning that it would take in virtually any homeless person, including alcoholics that other shelters might have rejected.


When the shelter shut down, hundreds of homeless people were forced back onto the streets without a roof over their head for the winter. Autopsy reports show that many who died were intoxicated or withdrawing from alcohol. 


Alcohol opens up your veins and allows for body heat to escape, and when mixed with the winter cold, it can prove to be fatal. 


With the temperatures dropping as winter approaches, the city of Atlanta is concerned with how many more homeless may be fatally exposed to winter temperatures. The city of Atlanta is trying to work with nonprofits such as Partners for Home to address the homeless crisis.


It is obvious that this issue needs addressing and that there needs to be immediate outreach to the homeless people.