Vigil held for those who died due to homelessness

Posted at 9:28 PM, Dec 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-18 23:28:58-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- A vigil was held Thursday night to remember Utahns who died due to homelessness.

About 70 people died this year because of being chronically homelessness.

About half of those on the street were struggling for homes, while the other half died after living for years without a home before getting supportive housing.

Hundreds gathered at the center of Pioneer Park with candles in hand to remember those who died.

“We knew these people,” said Jennifer Hyvonen, who is the communication director for the Fourth Street Clinic. “They were our friends and our family, and so it’s a way for us to kind of come together during the holiday season and remember those and what they taught us about life and challenges that we can face.”

Hyvonen said the average age at death while homeless is three decades earlier than those who have a home.

The goal of the vigil is to raise awareness and help reduce the number of homeless, so people can live longer and healthier lives.