Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Homeless deaths increase

By Darren Handschuh -  CAATANET Oct 18, 2016 / 2:39 pm 
The number of homeless people who died on Vernon streets has more than doubled since last year, according to Chuck Harper who is organizing the third annual Vernon Homeless Memorial. In 2015, there were eight deaths, but already in 2016 there have been 20, Harper said. Harper could not point to one particular reason for the dramatic increase in deaths, but acknowledged drugs did play a role in the rise in numbers. Health problems and other factors added to the total. The memorial will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. at Polson Park and will be a time to remember the lives lost. Harper said the memorial service is open to everyone and will be “quiet, respectful” where people can honour those who have died. “This year has been a particularly tough year,” said Harper. “We lost 20 men and women.” Kelly Fehr, with the John Howard Society, said there have been numerous deaths of homeless people this year, but he did not have the exact number. Following the service, there will be a dinner at the Upper Room Mission. “The mission is putting on the dinner with help from Interior Savings. They have chosen the Mission again for their Day of Difference so they will be helping us set up for the special dinner, as well as help with serving and clean up,” said Lisa Anderson, director of resource development with the mission. This will be the second in a row year staff from Interior Savings will be donating their time to benefit the mission.

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