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Winter Solstice to Mark Plight of CT Homeless

December 21, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. - Today is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. It's also the day each year when advocates for the homeless remember those who have died and remind the people of Connecticut that homelessness is not inevitable.

Every year, says Carol Walter, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, some individuals are found frozen to death in abandoned buildings or in snowbanks, but others die more slowly and invisibly.

"Unfortunately, the combination of no stable residence, of no support system and of other disabilities and medical challenges - really, we lose them earlier than we should."

Mourners today in Hartford will proceed from the Charter Oak Cultural Center to the Ancient Burying Ground. Events also will be held in Stamford, Middletown, Bridgeport and New Britain.

The remembrance, Walter says, is a time to look forward as well as back.

"We need to honor those who have passed, who have so often been forgotten. More importantly, we need to think about the ones who are with us, and really give them a shot at some self-determination, that so many of us take for granted."

The Hartford event is being organized with help from the Hartford Organizing Group, an outgrowth of Occupy Hartford, part of a movement which highlights the great wealth disparity in a nation in which some people own multiple homes.

"We have people who are dying on the street - and this isn't necessary. It really doesn't take much of a shift in wealth to d homelessness entirely in this country, and in Connecticut."

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT