By Katie Mahon, Communications Manager
This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Advocacy.
“For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink,
I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.” –Matthew 25:35
As the final countdown to Christmas begins and many of us finish our preparations for December 25th, it is essential to keep in mind those who are less fortunate than us and especially the homeless population throughout the world.
For Millennials and younger generations, the sight of an individual sleeping on the streets has become normalized for them. Still, something that is often not thought of is what happens to those who tragically died on the streets.
These individuals often are not connected to their loved ones and lack a support system of people who can plan a funeral for them.
These troubling facts, along with a rising homeless population in the United States, led the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council to recognize December 21st, the longest night of the year, as National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day.
Since 1990, each year on December 21st, people around the country “come together to remember those who have died without stable housing, to reflect on the shocking inhumanity of homelessness, and to call for meaningful policy changes to ensure that no life is lived or lost in homelessness.” (1)
These efforts to reflect and raise awareness are still very much needed today as in January 2019, the Census reported that 567,715 people were homeless in the United States, consisting of 37,085 veterans and 53,692 families. (1)
For individuals looking to raise awareness about National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day, you can make a difference by organizing a memorial event such as a Candlelight/Silent march, Vigil, Graveside service, or religious service as well as obtain a proclamation from your local government. You can also raise awareness on social media by using the hashtag #HomelessMemorial. (2)
To learn more about National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day and other ways that you can help raise awareness about these issues, read the National Home Care for the Homeless Council Advocacy Agenda here.