It feels appropriate that 2020, a year marked by incredible tragedies and hardship, also marks the 30th anniversary of Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day. For decades, we have had insufficient data to demonstrate the scale of the problem and develop holistic solutions. Yet as this year marks an important year of change, we believe it is time to intentionally address homeless mortality. The National Homeless Mortality Work Group took this challenge on and developed a Homeless Mortality Toolkit to consolidate lessons and best practices from local communities in creating official mortality reviews. In this Coffee Chat, members of this work group will provide an overview of their toolkit, share what we currently know about homeless mortality, and discuss the intersection of homeless mortality and trauma, particularly in the age of COVID.
This Coffee Chat will kick-off the National Health Care for the Homeless Council’s January series on emotional considerations of the COVID pandemic. As we are in the middle of this crisis and beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it is important to create space to check-in with ourselves. The stress, grief, and trauma of COVID is unprecedented, and it is difficult to take a moment and acknowledge how we are doing. The Council would like to create space for our members to identify the challenges of this time, find solidarity with others who are struggling, and begin to consider how to move out of our crisis response.
Rachel Biggs, Policy Director, Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Matthew Fowle, Researcher, HomelessDeathsCount, Seattle, Washington
Fredianne Grey, Researcher, HomelessDeathsCount, Seattle, Washington
Barry Zevin, San Francisco Department of Public Health Whole Person Integrated Care, Medical Director, San Francisco, California
Katherine Cavanaugh, Consumer Advocacy Manager, National HCH Council, Baltimore, MD