National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day
December 21st marks the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.
On this day, DuPage community members will take time to remember the 10 members of our community who died while experiencing homelessness and the six people who died victims of domestic violence.
This week, DuPage County Board members voted to designate December 21st as National Homeless Person’s Memorial Day. Service providers present at the meeting where the proclamation was read included:
- Carol Simler, DuPagePads President & CEO
- Judie Caribeaux, Executive Director of Family Shelter Service
- Christine Madsen, Director of Programs Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans
- Mary Keating, Director of DuPage County Community Services, Leader of DuPage County Continuum of Care
On Thursday, 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.
“In many cases, 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.
“We know that housing is good health care! We know that housing that people can afford is sorely needed in our county.
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, “Our Street Outreach program is working to reach those who are unsheltered in our community and as an agency we are diligently working on reducing the amount of time people are in need of our services.”
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, “Every life matters. When people feel secure in their own housing, they can thrive and reach their full potential, which greatly enriches our community’s social fabric and positively impacts our municipal budgets.
We hope the county will join us in remembering those who have died as we honor their lives by providing solutions to end homelessness.”