Chester County joined communities across the nation today in remembering those who died in 2021 without a place to call home.
Just before sundown on what would be the longest night of the year, members of the Chester County community gathered in front of the Historic Chester County Courthouse to hear the names slowly read of the 13 individuals who passed away while living on the street. A pause of silence between each name allowed for a time of contemplation.
Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz read from a proclamation on behalf of herself and fellow Commissioners Josh Maxwell and Michelle Kichline, saying, “In the season of generosity and sharing, Chester County citizens are encouraged to commit themselves to exhibiting compassion and concern for all, particularly during the winter months that pose extreme hardship for citizens who are less fortunate and without homes.”
The proclamation noted that on any given night 500 people in Chester County experience homelessness, and that hunger and homelessness remain a serious challenge even in Pennsylvania’s wealthiest county.
Rob Henry, administrator of the Chester County Partnership to End Homelessness, hosted the event, saying, “We must all work together to strive to create a community where no one’s life ends in homelessness.
“We are not here today to wallow in despair,” Henry said. “We are here to remember the joy and love these people and all people bring into the world and recognize the importance and potential of every human life.”
Henry said it is important to recognize that without the tireless effort of Chester County’s non-profit community providers, community members, and elected officials, many more people may have died this year while homeless.
“As we remember those who have died,” said Henry, “we must also strengthen our resolve to work for a world where no life is lived or lost in homelessness.”
This was the first year the annual memorial was hosted by the recently created Chester County Partnership to End Homelessness, a new program reflecting a reinforced commitment to helping the most vulnerable among us find or keep a stable place to live.
If you know of someone experiencing homelessness who needs help, the Partnership asks you to please call 2-1-1.