Memorial service for those lost to homelessness to take place virtually Saturday

Three Regina organizations are partnering together to host a memorial service for those who lost their lives due to homelessness.

Phoenix Residential Society, Street Culture Project, and the John Howard Society are hosting the fifth annual event on Facebook Live.

Blair Roberts with the John Howard Society says the event gives those who’ve died the chance to be honoured properly.

“If I passed away tomorrow, there’d be family and friends that would be able to gather, so we really just wanted to take this chance,” said Roberts. “Five years ago, there was a vision of giving these guys some respect and dignity, and a chance to honour those who have lost their lives to homelessness.”

While the city has taken significant steps in working towards ending homelessness, Roberts says there’s still a long way to go.

“It’s going to take resources and leadership, but there’s no question that we know what works. Housing works, and support for people once they’re housed works,” said Roberts. “We don’t need to have a memorial next year if we can put the right effort into this now, and the right resources into it now.”

In 2021, there have already been two freezing deaths in the province, with many more ending up in hospital.

Roberts says it doesn’t take much to help someone in need, especially when the temperature drops.

“Talk to people. If you see someone in need, see if they need help,” said Roberts. “These are humans, and I think quite often, they get sort of walked past and treated as less than. I would just encourage people to have a conversation and see what they can do to help.”

He says he hopes the memorial service will help spur the community into action.

The memorial will take place Saturday night at 5:30 and will be broadcast live on the Regina Homeless Memorial Facebook page.

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