Lifespan of a Homeless Person

We participated in the Minnesota Homeless Memorial March and Service in December. It is a somber time of celebration for lives that most of the world has overlooked. People living in poverty often don’t get noticed, even in death. No obituary and possibly no service. It seems no one cares. That’s what I love about this event. It’s a brief demonstration of love for those mostly forgotten and discarded.

The event honors, by name, those reported in as having been homeless, formerly homeless or been a person working as an advocate for the homeless and has passed away since last year’s event. Of the “homeless”, there were 101 people. It listed each person’s name, the city considered to be his or her residence and the age at death.

I calculated the average age for the total sample of 101 people. It was 42. The average age of death for the 67 people listed as “formerly homeless” was 50. I realize this is a small statistical sample set, but from it one could conclude that being in some form of housing extends one’s life, either about eight years, or in the case of the average American (age 79) more than 30 years. Of course, there’s lots of factors in play here, but let’s face it; we buried at least 101 people in Minnesota in 2019 with the average age of 42. Most died alone, estranged from society and if not for this event, mostly forgotten.

With recent crisis in our community of The Wall of Forgotten Natives in 2018 and then the loss of the Drake Hotel on Christmas 2019, is it time that we step up for those who struggle? Does everyone in our society deserve to be housed?

I will respect your answer but I challenge you to ask yourself the question.

One thought on “Lifespan of a Homeless Person

  1. Hi Rich: No one deserves to be housed, no one deserves to drive an SUV, no one deserves to have “a wife and kids” no one deserves no one deserves and finally: NO ONE deserves! But: We have rights and they are supposed to be EQUAL. and then too, people forget to the point of ending up in the shelters again or worse. I have made it a point during my eight years of homelessness to remain in prayer. THIS way: I lost NOTHING. People believe what they want to believe or are pre conditioned to believe about how things should “BE” For example: I haven’t been homeless for two years now, all through those two years, a lot of guys I’ve met in the shelters have continuously asked me: “Where is your guitar? (In January, right?) and I always say: “At home.” I guess it never occurred to me that people would equate “home” with Higher Ground, which is a decent place to live for homeless people should thy be fortunate enough to have their own apartment. The Social Security Administration does NOT consider any shelter regardless of “how nice it is” to be a justified residence for a person or family. I found that interesting because I’ve always liked Higher Ground and never got an apartment there. So, in having a actual place to live now where the Social Security Administration is now “happy”
    I see a lot of what I’ve seen while homeless: That administration either wont understand cant understand or doesn’t have time to understand. Where I live, they do very well in understand and I reciprocate quite comfortably. Section 8 being what it is, I don’t normally measure up to codes and policies, but I have a lot of friends who help me with that.

    Which is one more thing I don’t deserve.
    But the minute I forget that,
    I may be very successful in life
    but in reality have lost everything.

    Grace & Peace to you, Rich.

    Sincerely yours

    Micah 4:5-7


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