The study of all 501 homeless deaths in Sacramento County since 2002 found half died in an accident, as a victim of murder, or by suicide. Two-thirds of the deceased had left a homeless program within the previous year.
Shamus Roller is interim director of Sacramento Steps Forward.
"In addition to the 500 lives we're talking about here," he says, "there are also many years that have been lost among people who have been able to get off the streets because they were sicker for the time they had spent on the streets."
Roller says any solution to the homeless problem must include stable housing.
"Moving people off of the streets and into a stable home is both more efficient economically -that it costs less money, that it is more humane than trying to manage homeless people through jails, through emergency rooms, though unstable shelter."
The average age of the deceased was 50, which is more than 25 years below the average life expectancy for an American.