LOCAL NEWS

SLC hosts homeless persons memorial at Pioneer Park

Dec 21, 2022, 10:10 PM | Updated: Dec 22, 2022, 6:33 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds gathered at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City to remember homeless Utahns that have died this year. Several agencies and community partners sponsored the candlelight vigil to remember the 159 people.

During the program, The Other Side Academy Choir sang and Wayne Niederhauser, the state homeless coordinator, talked about how in 2023 the medical examiner’s office will begin tracking the housing status of those who die in Utah in hopes of tailoring programs that will help fight chronic homelessness in the state.

“We’re all, on average two paychecks away,” said Kaden Coil, a case manager at the Midvale Family Resource Center. The vigil had extra meaning for him. He knows the struggles people experiencing homelessness face, and he works with them every day.

“It’s more personal,” Coil said. “I know the struggles, I know the hardships that they face.”

Van Aston works at the Fourth Street Clinic.

“I’m lucky in that I’ve heard many of these stories,” he said of the names being read. His hope is people will show more compassion to those on the streets.

“Challenge yourself to step back, challenge yourself to look at them and wonder maybe there was something that happened to them that put them in a situation that made them make choices that were different than yours,” says Aston.

Just last week five more homeless people died from exposure.

Five people die on Salt Lake City streets, mayor takes emergency action

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SLC hosts homeless persons memorial at Pioneer Park