Dec. 21 service memorializes homeless who died in past year
Online Staff Report
A local observance of the Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day will begin at 10 a.m., Wednesday, Dec. 21, at Carpenter’s Place, 1149 Railroad Ave., Rockford.
The annual event is sponsored by Crusader Community Health Care, Healthcare for the Homeless Program and Carpenter’s Place, and recognizes homeless people who have died during the past year.
This year, the memorial service will remember 24 homeless people — men and women ranging in age from 24 to 76 years — who died during the past year.
Shelton Kay, director of the Crusader Community Healthcare for the Homeless Program, said: “Many homeless persons die alone, silently and without public recognition. This is a special way to formally remember our homeless friends and neighbors who died in 2011.”
The event is held each year on or near the first day of winter, as it is the longest night of the year. It is also a time to reflect on the unique perspective on homelessness and an appreciation of the basic things in life that are often taken for granted — privacy, independence, safety and security.
People experiencing homelessness are three to four times more likely to die prematurely than their housed counterparts, according to a study released by the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.
Crusader’s Healthcare for the Homeless Program began 22 years ago with a mission to provide health care, substance abuse and mental health referrals, assistance with housing options, and entitlement services to the homeless at 10 locations. During 2010, Crusader served 1,153 homeless clients.
Contact Kay at (815) 289-6393 for more details.
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