This year 17 people died homeless in Boulder.
On Friday, December 21 more than 100 community members – some homeless, some elected officials, some from the faith community, some service providers – all concerned, compassionate citizens were convened by Bridge House to remember those we lost this year. The ceremony was a chance to reflect, laugh, cry and, most importantly, to affirm our resolve to continue the fight so no one in our community need die, nor live, homeless.
Even with the many hopeful ways to help people who are homeless, the harsh reality remains that living on the streets presents real life or death situations for the men and women we serve at Bridge House.
But there is hope. On Friday, at the very moment we stood together to at the homeless memorial, we received this beautiful letter of survival and family reunification to remind us that we can save people from the street.
“I just want to thank you for all you do. This holiday season will be the second one in a row that my brother will be spending with the family. For the years before he was in and out of detox and rehab and on and off the streets at various points. Though we live in Virginia he ended up homeless in Boulder. When my mother asked him what he’d want for Christmas this year he told her a couple small, cheap things that were of little significance. She pressed him to find out if there was some “big gift” he’d want and instead of asking for the new iPad or a fancy cellphone he told her about your organization. He asked that she make donations to you instead of giving him some glitzy present because of everything you’d done for him while he was in Boulder. Because without your organization he may not have lived.
When she told me that, I cried. I hadn’t really thought about how my brother survived his time being homeless or how close we came to losing him forever. I tried not to think about what could have happened to him if he didn’t have people to support him. I was unable to be there for him but you were. You took care of my little brother and for that I have to thank you. I know that being homeless is dangerous and I know that a lot of people die while living on the streets. I feel that the work you do helps to minimize those loses and helps people survive. You are all amazing people for what you do and I can’t thank you enough. I feel that without your help my brother might not be with us today and that I have you to thank for his presence at our Christmas dinner table.”