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CHAS Remembers People Who Are Homeless With Video

Screenshot from CHAS video

Spokane’s CHAS Health normally holds an in-person ceremony on the Winter Solstice honoring people who are homeless. It’s officially the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

This year, because of Covid, CHAS produced a video instead which features the voices of people on the streets.

“I know a lot of people who have died out here. Died of the cold. Died of old age. A lot have died from heroin overdoses," said one woman featured in the video.

The video calls attention to the difficult lives people on the streets live. CHAS homeless outreach workers honor the memories of 91 community members who died this year.

CHAS Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Deborah Wiser says people who are homeless are at greater risk for infections, chronic illness, poor mental health and substance abuse challenges than the general population. They are more likely to suffer from violent acts and die early.

“We need to learn from their stories and their experiences, so we can help make it better. So take a few deep breaths and picture those we’ve lost, those persons who suffered, the poverty, the illnesses, that go along with being homeless and without resources, who touched your life," Wiser said.

You can see the videoat the CHAS website. You can read the names of those who passed in 2020 on the tree outside the CHAS Denny Murphy Clinic in downtown Spokane.

CHAS outreach workers on Monday passed out food and winter survival gear bought with donations by the agency’s employees.