10th Annual Service Will Memorialize Contra Costa Homeless Who Passed Away

Non-profit behavioral health group Anka is organizing the Nov. 14 event at a Concord church to remember those who died in the past year.

By: Susan C. Schena, The Patch

Brenda's Photos 024Project HOPE’s 10th Annual Homeless Memorial will be held Friday, Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Concord United Methodist Church located at 1645 West St., Concord.

The Memorial is planned and hosted by the community-based non-profit Anka Behavioral Health, Inc. to remember the lives of the men and women who experienced homelessness and passed away over the past year.

Anka’s Project HOPE Program has faithfully hosted this special memorial service for the past 10 years, gathering the entire community together to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have passed over the last year.

Of the numerous men and women being honored this year, many have passed while living on the streets or in encampments while others were formerly homeless or homeless service providers and advocates.

The number of those who have passed always increases on the day of the event as the homeless community often reveals additional individuals and honors their passing.

A total of 6,635 people used Contra Costa County homeless services from July 2013 to December 2013 – a six-month period.

Of these, 1,370 people were considered newly identified homeless, or clients that have never before entered the County’s system of services.

Anka’s HOPE Outreach Team is often the bridge between the homeless community and the services provided in this region. The team goes out daily to encampments, the streets, and other locations where homeless individuals frequent to provide information about services in the area.

Concurrently, the HOPE Team works with County Homeless Continuum of Care, numerous homeless service providers, the business community, faith-based agencies, and other community partners to increase awareness and provide shelter and services.

Naturally, overtime the team develops a genuine connection with the people they serve – many of whom conquer their homelessness and find housing and recovery and, sadly, many who pass away on the streets due to health issues, substance abuse and violence.

The Homeless Memorial will include a color guard composed of veterans, prayer, guest speakers from Anka, county behavioral health and homeless services departments, homeless and veterans affairs advocates, and open forum in which attendees may share personal memories about those who have passed.

Lunch will be provided and all are invited to attend. To make a donation towards the memorial service, please go to http://www.ankabhi.org/donate.html

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