National Homeless Persons Memorial Day honors homeless who have passed away

National Homeless Persons Memorial Day honors homeless who have passed away
(Source: Primavera Foundation)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Losing a loved one is incredibly difficult in any situation, especially for the people who are homeless in our community.

Often the homeless who pass away go unremembered or unnoticed. So National Homeless Persons Memorial Day was created to honor the lives of the homeless people who have passed away in communities across the U.S.

"It’s a time to stop and be present and honor and celebrate those people who maybe were marginalized or stigmatized or people didn’t know them. And so we need to honor and celebrate their lives and treat them as full human beings and value them and honor them,” Peggy Hutchison, the CEO of the Primavera Foundation, said.

The Department of Economic Security reports that 37,404 people across the state received some sort of services in housing facilities or shelters last year. DES also says that numbers from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 indicate that 3,166 people are considered to be unsheltered. Of those, the largest group of homeless individuals is single, adult men. In terms of homeless families that make up that 3,166 number, a majority of them are women and children.

In Pima County the most recent numbers show that homelessness appears to be a on a decline. When it comes to the breakdown of homelessness in our community though, there are more men who are homeless than women.

Source: Tucson Pima Collaboration to end Homelessness
Source: Tucson Pima Collaboration to end Homelessness

No matter their gender though, the loss of a person in the homeless community is difficult for their fellow community members.

Hutchison says the loss of a person who is homeless makes the other homeless people in their community scared and causes them to feel even more lonely. She adds that there’s also the potential for it to trigger homeless individuals who have experienced trauma.

Hutchison says for those in the homeless community, the feeling of reflection comes on even stronger than for others. A loss for people who are homeless can also cause them to become even more marginalized from a society that already puts them on the fringes.

To honor people who were homeless that passed away this past year the Primavera Foundation is hosting a memorial today at Evergreen Cemetery from 4-5:30 p.m.

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