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Homeless Lives Too Often Cut Short

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During a vigil at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, D.C. homeless people who have passed away were honored and remembered.
During a vigil at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, D.C. homeless people who have passed away were honored and remembered.

By Mary Otto
Street Sense

A list of the homeless dead is by nature incomplete, steadily unfolding. The lives of the homeless are often cut two or three decades short due to exposure, easily treated chronic diseases, addiction, or violence. On Dec 21, the names of 67 homeless people who died in and around Washington over the year were read at a vigil marking the local observance of National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day.

And on Dec. 31, the battered and strangled body of Street Sense vendor Leroy Studevant, 56, was found near a creek in Northeast D.C.

District police are calling their inquiry into his death the first homicide investigation of 2012.

At the Dec. 21 vigil, as candles flickered in the sanctuary of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, others who had gone before him were recalled. Phyllis Jackson was remembered for her deep spirituality; Luther Hill for his military service and Cliff Carle, Jr. for his work as a vendor and photographer for Street Sense.

The service was coordinated with National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day vigils in at least 152 other communities, from Wasilla, Alaska to Palm Beach Florida.

Read more at Street Sense.

Street Sense is biweekly nonprofit newspaper publishing on issues pertaining to homelessness and poverty, sold by homeless individuals on the streets to help them earn an honest income. To donate directly to Street Sense, click here.