Skip to main content

Homeless Persons' Memorial Day

On average a homeless person’s life is 36% shorter than a housed person’s life.

To memorialize homeless people who have lived on the mean streets and have died in the past year, the National Coalition for the Homeless [NCH] has sponsored National Homeless Person's Memorial Day since 1990. This year, National Heath Care for the Homeless Council [NHCHC] will join NCH as a co-sponsor for the holiday and events that will take place nationwide. The date for the memorial day, this year, is December 21st. Every year Homeless Persons' Memorial Day is on the date of the winter solstice, when daylight is at its minimum and night lasts the longest.

The leading causes of death for homeless people are preventable and treatable. Regrettably, well documented barriers block homeless persons’ access to health care.

Life is both tough and short out on the streets. According to a study in Los Angeles county, done between January 2000 and May 2007, being homeless drastically reduces one's life expectancy. According to the executive summary of the report, based on statistics provided by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office: "The 2,815 homeless people in our study were expected to live 211,878 years based on the average life expectancy of their gender and ethnicity. They only survived 135,528 of those expected years. In other words, their lives were cut short by 76,350 years. On average a homeless person’s life is 36% shorter than a housed person’s life. For homeless Latina females, their lives were 49% shorter than expected."

Also, the study reported this startling fact: "[T]he average age of death was 48.1 years, falling far short of the 77.2 year life expectancy of the average American." In the policy-recommendation section, we are told, "The leading causes [of] death reported here are preventable and treatable. Regrettably, well documented barriers – chiefly lack of health insurance or ability to pay – continue to block homeless persons’ access to care."

Policy recommendations of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, resulting from the study, are these:
  • Increase access to Primary and Preventive Care
  • Support overdose prevention programs
  • Promote recovery
  • Improved discharge planning
  • Regional priority to end and prevent homelessness through creating permanent housing
  • Increase economic stability [of homeless people]
Unlike other large metropolis areas in the country, Greater Sacramento has not had activities commemorating Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. However, in Loaves & Fishes' Friendship Park there is a commemorative pool, in the back of which the names of homeless Sacramentans who have died are engraved. Ceremonies to commemorate and celebrate the recently deceased homeless are held in an area in front of the pool.

At Sacramento county's Primary Care Services website they recently posted this year's poster for the holiday. Near the bottom of the poster, there is a lit candle. At the top it says "Homeless Persons' Memorial Day." Strewn throughout the poster are these statements:
  • Homeless people die from illnesses that affect everyone, frequently without health care.
  • Homeless people die from exposure, unprotected from the heat and cold.
  • Homeless people die from violence, often in unprovoked hate crimes.
  • Health care is a human right.
  • Housing is a human right.
  • Remember our neighbors and friends who have died without homes.
  • Physical safety is a human right.
  • Remember why they died.
  • DECEMBER 21 The first day of winter. The longest night of the year.


Popular posts from this blog

The Mission Five Years Ago, And Today

I have spent the night the past two weeks plus at the Union Gospel Mission and am having an excellent time of it -- not only regards to sleeping in the dorm that the mission has, but also listening to the sermons that are delivered in the early evening. The Christmas music that is performed is also splendid. [And the food -- the FOOD -- has been fantastic during my stay so far! A happier Tom there couldn't be.] I chatted with a pal last night about The Mish – about how things were about five years ago when we both used the mission’s services frequently, and how thing are, today.
Five years ago, there were a lot scuffles between the guys when the front gate was opened in the early afternoon and in the area near the contact window there were some brawls as guys fought over where guys were in line to get a bed in the dorm.
Nowadays, however, the mission is very much a peaceful place both on the grounds of the facility and and out on the street.
I do not know what transformative eve…

Homeless Sacramentans lose case that would have given them the right to set up outdoor camping

8/11/13 I certainly give attorneys Mark Merin and Cat Williams credit for pursuing a case against the city of Sacramento to give homeless Sacramentans the right to set up tents and a campsite. I wanted them to win their case, but they didn't. They lost it.

BUT, it is also necessary to look at the particulars of the case that Merin and Williams brought and see that the situation underlying the court case was not very compelling.

During the period eight years ago when 22 homeless campers set up their tents and brought in supplies to Mark Merin's vacant lot at C Street, near 12th, there was loud noise and plenty of other mayhem. Drug dealers were on the street encouraging buys from the campers. The Hernandez couple that lived in a house nearby were constantly being taunted by the campers, disrupting their lives.

Per always with Safe Ground camps, calm was deserted for the sake of boisterousness.

Leader John Kraintz and the other Safe Grounders would claim to have signed strict a…

After a Three-Month Hiatus, a Fall from a Ladder & a Broken Wrist, Evangelist Jimmy Roughton Returns to Union Gospel Mission to Preach

After being away from Union Gospel Mission for a quarter of a year, Jimmy Roughton returned to preach at UGM on the cold night of December 13 -- despite suffering [a little? a lot? dunno.] from a fall from a ladder that likely immediately preceded a significant injury (a wrist that was broken).

It was good to see his group from Capital Free Will Baptist Church up on the pulpit, with Roughton rough-and-ready to seduce and inspire the happily-captivate crowd at UGM.

Roughton told us in his opening words that he was now in his 27th year coming to the mission.

I recall the first preaching I had heard from Roughton on June 13, 2009. At that time and up to the current time, Roughton is the only preacher I had ever heard evoke Pascal's Wager -- which is something he would do, occasionally thereafter at the mission. He would evoke Pascal's wager, yet again, last night [12/13/17].

Pascal's wager

Last night, Jimmy evoked Pascal's Wager. He did so near the end of his talk, citing …