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December 21st will mark the 27th Annual National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.
Each year since 1990, on or near December 21st, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) has sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness and to remember our homeless friends who have paid the ultimate price for homelessness.
During the December 13, 2016 DuPage County Board Meeting, DuPage County Board Chairman Daniel J. Cronin issued a Proclamation recognizing December 21, 2016 as National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day in DuPage County to remember those who have died homeless and to encourage citizens to support all local efforts to resolve the factors that lead to homelessness within the County.
DuPage PADS President/CEO Carol Simler addressed the DuPage County Board on behalf of all DuPage County homeless service providers and shared the following message:
“Thank you members of the County Board, for your commitment to insure the quality of life here in DuPage County.
As Chairman Cronin said, I am Carol Simler, President/CEO of DuPagePads. This morning, I stand together with the other providers of Shelter and Support for the men, women and children who are homeless in our county.
Today we stand together to renew our commitment to end homelessness here in DuPage County.
On December 21st on the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, also known as Homeless Memorial Day, we will take pause to remember the five individuals who were members of our community who died while experiencing homelessness. We recognize the extraordinary toll homelessness takes on the health and longevity of people and also the public health of our community.
This year we will gather with volunteers and clients at all three of the DuPagePads overnight shelter sites to remember those who have died this year without a permanent home. Our goal is to commemorate the lives of the mothers or fathers, sons or daughters who died while in our shelters, from illness or conditions directly related to their homelessness.
In many cases, this service will be the only commemoration of their lives.
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 are aware of the cost of homelessness on our social fabric and on municipal budgets.
We’ve added Street Outreach to our Crisis Response System to those who are unsheltered in our communities. We invite members of our community to help us engage unsheltered individuals in our community to provide support and needed services by calling our Toll Free number.
Now, members of our Street Outreach team travel throughout DuPage County responding to those who are experiencing homelessness.
What we do know is that housing is good health care and a fundamental need, a basic human right, and protects people from illness, violence and death.
The DuPage Homeless Continuum of Care, has adopted a Housing First Approach to move people quickly to a place they can call home again in our community, and provide adequate supports to maintain their housing.
In this season of generosity and sharing, think of DuPage County citizens who are less prosperous and without homes; particularly during winter months that pose extreme hardship and continues to be a serious challenge.
Homelessness is truly a sign in our community today that forces each one of us to ask the hard question – what is ours to do?
Homelessness isn’t just my problem, homelessness is a community problem, it’s everyone’s problem.
Join us on December 21st, by remembering the five individuals who have died as we honor their lives by working to provide solutions to end homelessness with our county. Stand with us to end this moral injustice and bring hope again in rebuilding and restoring lives.”