On December 21, winter solstice, communities across the country will recognize National Homeless Persons’ Remembrance Day. In D.C., People for Fairness Coalition, an advocacy group composed of current and formerly unhoused D.C. residents, will hold a vigil the night before to honor the lives and acknowledge the passing of all those who died unhoused in D.C. this year.

To attend the vigil, please sign up here.

The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically proved that housing is a critical public health intervention– yet the learnings of the pandemic have not yet deepened into a broader understanding that housing is quite literally a life-saver. It is irrefutable that the life expectation of someone in housing is far greater than that of someone who is unhoused. We know that housing is healthcare, that many people’s physical and emotional health improves when they obtain safe, stable housing. Even when housing is not capable of preventing an individual’s death, housing inevitably allows for an easier and more dignified passing.

We here at the Legal Clinic extend our condolences to the friends and family members of all those who have died unhoused this year. We are resolute in fixing the broken systems and the insufficient political will that lead to people dying without homes.