National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day
December 21st marks the winter solstice, which is the longest night of the year.
On this day, DuPage community members will take time to remember the 5 members of our community who died while experiencing homelessness.
Last week, DuPage County Board members, led by Dan Cronin (right), DuPage County Board Chairman, voted to designate December 21st as National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. Service providers present at the meeting where the proclamation was read included:
Carol Simler, President & CEO, DuPagePads
Karen Ayala, Executive Director, DuPage County Health Department
Mary Keating, Director of DuPage County Community Services, Leader of DuPage County Continuum of Care
Lisa Horne, Director of Safer Living, Family Shelter Services
Scott Austgen, Vice President of Programs, DuPagePads
Harley Jones, CEO, 360 Youth Services
On Saturday, December 21st at all three of DuPagePads Interim (overnight) Housing shelter sites, volunteers and clients will gather to remember those who have died from illness or conditions directly related to homelessness.
“For many, this service will be the only commemoration of their lives,” Simler says.
Homeless people suffer from a high prevalence of physical disease, mental illness, and a high occurrence of trauma with a mortality rate at least 3.5 times higher than the general public.
“In this season of generosity and sharing, let us call to mind our DuPage County citizens who are less prosperous, living in poverty, and without homes; particularly during these winter months that pose extreme hardships and challenges,” Simler says.
Simler continues, “Homelessness isn’t just our problem, homelessness is a community problem and it is everyone’s problem.”
Community members can take action if they see someone unsheltered by calling DuPagePads toll-free Street Outreach hotline at 866.682.3846, ext. 2275. DuPagePads Street Outreach team responds to these calls to engage those who are experiencing homelessness.
Simler shares, “Join us on December 21st, by remembering the 6 individuals who have died homeless as we honor their lives by working to provide solutions to end homelessness in our county.
Stand with us that night – because I believe and I think you will concur that every life matters in OUR county.”