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Remembering those who died on city streets
Nahreman Issa, ctvedmonton.ca
Published Saturday, January 22, 2011 6:24PM MST
It was a somber moment for family and friend's of the 57 homeless people who died on the streets last year.
Candles were lit one by one, representing loved ones during a memorial at Boyle Street Community Services Saturday afternoon.
John Hansen's brother was in attendance, paying respect to a troubled man.
"After our mother died about six years ago," said Richard Sanders. "He became rather depressed and fell harder into his addiction of alcohol and became homeless."
Sanders says the addiction eventually got the best of the father of three. Hansen passed away on August 8th.
"Just two weeks after he was housed through an agency," says Sanders. "He had an accident and he died."
Also being remembered this year is James Lee Catholique. The 23-year-old was a homicide victim last summer. His common-law-wife was there to pay tribute to the late father. Catholique leaves behind a toddler.
"I don't want James to be forgotten or thought of as just another homeless Indian," says Kim Cardinal. "Because we are all people."
However, organizers of the event say it's often long-term homelessness that is to blame.
"Typically, people think it is someone who froze on the street; but that's not really the story," says Lorette Garrick. "It's the long-term chronic homelessness that contributes to lack of good nutrition and health care."
Those in attendance all shared each other's grief, wanting other Edmontonians to know their loved ones were people who deserve to be remembered.
"[Hansen] worked and paid taxes, just like we all try to die and live a productive life in society," says Sanders. "His addiction got the best of him."