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Mayor Bill Cole Proclaims December 21st as Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day



Billings, Montana – There are many folks in the Billings community who have no way to escape the terrible weather, while many of us are able to keep safe and out of the cold.

Sometimes, the effects of the exposure can be fatal.

The severe Montana winter has claimed the lives of 17 homeless people this year, according to Billings municipal officials.

Mayor Bill Cole and RiverStone Health organized the yearly tribute for the homeless and declared today, December 21, as Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day in their honor.

The coldest and longest night of the year occurs on the first day of winter, and Wednesday’s temperatures were intolerable.

Over 1,300 patients without a home are now enrolled in the RiverStone Foundation’s Healthcare for the Homeless program.

The mayor of Billings, Bill Cole, stated that a lot of issues contribute to homelessness in the city and that as a community we must address these factors and develop ways to assist those in need.

“Billings community has a responsibility to address the factors that contribute to homelessness, including poverty, lack of affordable housing, lack of access to mental healthcare, and lack of access to addiction treatment. the billings city council is in partnership with a continuum of Care, United Way of Yellowstone County, and the community crisis center and the Billings First Church is working to provide low barring shelters for people who may be otherwise sleeping outdoors this winter.” Said Mayor Bill Cole.

One of the program’s medical professionals revealed the thoughts of a patient who passed away due to the bitter cold.

She said, “We celebrate this vigil each year to shed light on the struggles of our most vulnerable population, they are our friends, family, and neighbors. Housing is a human right and no one deserves to die in the cold of the night as our pal did. We ask you to Remember this all year long and not just during winter.”

John Felton, CEO of Riverstone Health, asserts that it is important to acknowledge how challenging Montana’s winters are for those without homes.

“Make no mistake about it, people living on our street are members of our community. As we approach the new year, let’s make a resolution as a community to acknowledge the realities of where we live and develop real solutions that we are willing to implement. Winter is here and it will come again and let’s now pretend that cold weather is a Surprise let’s commit to solving,” said Felton.

Felton claims that numerous people pass away from the cold on our streets each year.

The National Healthcare for the Homeless Council states that persons who are homeless are in danger of fatal illnesses like hypothermia and frostbite, which can develop at temperatures between 30 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The organization also claims that 44% of the countries homeless are living in the open and that almost 700 Americans die each year from ailments due to the cold.

For people without a place to live, healthcare for the homeless offers medical, dental, and mental health services. For individuals in need, low-barrier shelters are also available.

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