December 21, 2020

Each year on December 21st, CHAS Health hosts a Homeless Memorial to remember those who have died during the year while experiencing homelessness.    The memorial is held on the Winter Solstice, which marks the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.  This event serves as an opportunity to raise awareness of the struggles of those who are experiencing housing insecurity and is also a call to action to help end homelessness.  Traditionally, over 150 communities across the nation hold similar events. 

Studies across the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Australia have confirmed a relationship between a lack of housing and increased mortality rates. Homeless persons are 3-4 times more likely to die than the general population. On average, people with housing in the U.S. can expect to live to age 78. Our long-term homeless neighbors can expect to live to about the age of 50. This day focuses attention to collectively recommit efforts to prevent unnecessary deaths among our homeless neighbors.

In a typical year, this memorial would gather community leaders, clients, and CHAS Health staff to honor these lost lives.  This year, we are sadly unable to hold an in-person event with our community due to the current healthcare crisis.  In lieu of an in-person remembrance, we are taking this this ceremony online.  The CHAS Health Homeless Memorial includes a visual representation of those members of our homeless community who have died this year with individual names placed on a tree outside the downtown CHAS Health Denny Murphy Clinic located at 1001 W. 2nd Ave.

We ask that those who would like to join us in remembrance take a moment to reflect on this day of the lives lost in the past year and consider the challenges that our homeless population faces. 

CHAS Health is proud to have a homeless outreach team that spends their time working with this community.  This team works to stay connected with this vulnerable population and spends their time checking on the wellness of others, providing much needed support, and handing out supplies. CHAS Health employees recently donated more than $7,000 to purchase warm winter gear including gloves, socks and sleeping bags to support members of our homeless community this year.   The outreach team will be passing out lunches and winter survival items to the homeless around its Denny Murphy Clinic throughout the day.

If you have any questions regarding our memorial or outreach efforts, please contact us at

Thank you for your support of this very important cause. Please help us spread the word by sharing this video or blog.