RI News
11:16 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Remembering the homeless who have died

A service was held in Providence Wednesday to honor all the homeless people who died in 2012.
The service was held at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. The names of 44 individuals were read and candles were lit in their memory.  A 45th candle was also illuminated in case they missed anyone.

Stained glass window at Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
Credit courtesy CathedralProvidence.org

Jim Ryzcek, director of the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, says homelessness will shorten your life as quickly as any serious disease.

"It runs the gamut. Some had pervasive illnesses they were hospitalized for and they passed away. Others were just old and passed away of normal causes. But we do know that folks who are on the street and have pervasive issues of substance abuse do tend to have shorter lifespans because of the harder life they live. "

Ryzcek says the city’s shelters are bursting amidst this bout of arctic weather.
"It’s certainly challenging in this time when there are so many people in the shelter system on a regular basis that when something like this happens and the number you know the census will go up because people are choosing to stay outside even in 30 degree weather will change their mind when it drops below ten."

Not all of the people memorialized were homeless at the time of their deaths, but all had been at one time or another.

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