December 21, 2018 is the first day of winter, and also the longest night of the year. It is when people around the country remember those who have died as a result of being homeless, and raises awareness of the risks associated with homelessness.
Events held around the country on December 21st honor those who have died because they did not have shelter. They also serve as reminders of the hardships and risks people who are homeless may experience.
Golden Valley Health Centers will be hosting events in Modesto and Manteca on December 21st. These community events will bring resources to people experiencing homelessness on the longest night of the year. The Modesto event will include a memorial presentation for the homeless persons who have passed in the last year.
Compared to the general population, people who experience homelessness are at greater risk of infectious and chronic illness, poor mental health, and substance abuse. They are also more often victims of violence, prior to and once homeless. Homeless persons also have a mortality rate four to nine times higher than those who are not homeless. With an estimated 39.7 million Americans living in poverty, 19 million experiencing housing insecurity, and 27.3 million without health insurance, the risk of homelessness and poor health is a concern for 1 out of 8 Americans.1
1 CDC Features, Life Stages and Populations, National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day