BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative, local leaders and community members gathered Tuesday in memory of unhoused people who died this year.
Studies across the world show the relationship between a lack of housing and increased mortality rates among the unsheltered. Research shows homeless persons are three to four times more likely to die earlier in life than the general population.
“I just want to thank our community. I want to thank Mayor Goh, CityServe, our homeless service providers and our membership for coming to this inaugural event. It was really important to see the community support and I think we’re seeing that in spades today,” Executive Director of the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative Anna Laven said.
The group says at least 86 homeless people died in Kern County this year.
Tuesday’s vigil included prayer, reflection and a dove release.
Similar vigils are held around the world on Dec. 21, which marks the winter solstice and the longest night of the year.