Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Journal, Saturday, January 15 - 2022
A friend of the street ministry contacted us today to report that a homeless man had been found and from what she could tell, had literally frozen to death. There are some unknowns as far as when he passed away and how long he was in the location he was in but, regardless, someone died from the cold. He was someone's son, maybe someone's brother or uncle or maybe someone's father -- he was someone! The street ministry does not provide personal information out of respect for the individual and the family. It is a tragedy at many levels and, unfortunately, we don't believe that this will be the last cold-related death that will occur this year. Our friend that notified us of the death said it well: "I think what really saddens me is that even though they have made choices that lead them to the streets or whatever their situation, maybe everyone should be reminded to hug their loved ones a little tighter and be reminded that something as little as warmth is important to all."
A homeless person trying to stay warm on a cold winter night. Because of donations,
we were able to provide a sleeping bag, hand warmers and blankets.
With the rise of Covid across the country, we want to pose a question to think about. Per guidelines, when someone tests positive, they are instructed to quarantine. For someone who is homeless and not symptomatic enough for hospitalization, where are they expected to quarantine? There are assumptions made with the directives to quarantine: not everyone has a place to be and not everyone has the ability to have all of their needs met in one place.
For the last several weeks, we've noted that some of our "usuals" that we've gotten to know over the last months and years are not present and we're curious about where they are. We hope they've found a safe place to stay and are out of the elements but it is strange. We are certain there has not been a windfall of housing. We observe the routines people have and who they connect with for companionship and safety; it's concerning to us when someone is out of the usual group for an extended period of time and even more concerning when we're asked if we've seen someone.
Please keep the unhoused population in your thoughts and prayers, especially the individual who recently passed away and his family. May he rest in peace.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
Chippewa Valley Street Ministry Staff
Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Monday, January 17, 2022