It’s a rock on the west side of Vernon Creek, in the city’s Crown Jewel, put there to remember the most vulnerable for a 10th straight year.
It’s Vernon’s Homeless Memorial and, on Thursday, Oct. 12, from 2-3 p.m. at the rock, people will gather to remember those who lost their lives while living without shelter.
“We’ll talk about the overdose pandemic in B.C., but the 1oth annual Homeless Memorial honours those we’ve lost to drug addiction, compromised health, poverty and violence,” said event organizer, North Okanagan Community Chaplain Chuck (Harper), who also battled addiction, and was a resident of the streets.
“We’ll also talk about the effect the deaths have on the families of the victims, as well as the front-line workers who try to administer aid.”
It was on Oct. 12, 2022, a year ago to the day of the upcoming memorial, the B.C. Coroners Service released a report that showed there were 247 deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness reported to the agency in 2021.
That was a 75 per cent increase over the number of lives lost in 2020.
More than 100 people attended the ninth annual Homeless Memorial in Polson Park in 2021, which is open to the public.