A call for help as homeless deaths rise at alarming rate
SALISBURY, Md. – “It breaks my heart, it kills me inside because you look at it and say could I have done more? Was there a way to make this happen?”
That’s the question advocates are asking after 7 people lost their lives, living on the streets of Salisbury in 2020.
Deaths they say could have been prevented.
“I know that it sounds crazy but I’ve gone through enough deaths on the street to say I don’t want anybody dying, ” said Founder of HALO Ministry, Celeste Savage.
COVID-19 restrictions closed the doors to many local shelters leaving the homeless without resources and a place to go.
Salisbury Housing and Homeless Manager, Christine Chestnutt tells 47 ABC it made it harder to offer help.
“The resources we needed to get them into housing and employment became that much more difficult,” said Chestnutt.
Advocates believe increased drug use, lack of resources, and outdoor living could be a reason for the increase in deaths.
“It’s repulsive that people that are living outdoors and then dying outdoors simply because of their lack of access to housing,” said Savage.
But even as shelters started to re-open, concerns continue to grow.
“There was a point where all we could offer them was a place to stay in the woods, we don’t know what else to tell you… try to find a place to be,” said Chestnutt.
For now, they say support from the community is the best way to avoid another life lost.
“If we had some volunteers, we could pull some people off of the streets and be able to help them move forward and have a little bit of dignity,” said Savage.
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