More Homeless People Die of Cold Weather in L.A. Than in New York

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Esteban Velasquez, 54, tries to stay warm as pedestrians walk along South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles on a rainy day in January. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

Esteban Velasquez, 54, tries to stay warm as pedestrians walk along South Broadway in downtown Los Angeles on a rainy day in January. (Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

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John D. Brider was found passed out near a homeless shelter and taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he later died.

Brider, 63, had gone into cardiac arrest and oxygen had been cut off to his brain. But another, seemingly improbable, factor contributed to his death last winter: hypothermia, or loss of body heat, from being out in the cold, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office ruled.

One of the abiding myths about Los Angeles is that homeless people come here from the East Coast or Midwest because at least they won’t freeze to death.

But despite L.A.’s typical sunshine and mild temperatures, five homeless people, including Brider, died of causes that included or were complicated by hypothermia in the county last year, surpassing San Francisco and New York City, which each reported two deaths. Over the last three years, 13 people have died at least partly because of the cold, the coroner’s office said. And advocates worry that this cold, rainy winter will mean more fatalities.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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