A Call to Compassion: Addressing the Tragic Losses in Our Community

A Call to Compassion: Addressing the Tragic Losses in Our Community

Dear Community,

Today, we wanted to take a moment of reflection to acknowledge the heartbreaking losses in our community and come together in compassion. Over the past months and years, we have witnessed the devastating consequences of homelessness in our community, as lives have been cut short due to circumstances that could have been preventable.

The losses are deeply felt by both our unhoused and housed community members who have lost friends or family. As social workers, we often don’t have time to grieve these tragedies ourselves as we remain focused on helping others. Yet, this demanding work takes a toll on our frontline staff. Each loss is not just a statistic; it represents a human life, a story cut short, and a community member who deserved better.

The recent deaths of individuals experiencing homelessness serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need for compassionate and proactive solutions to address this crisis. It is not just about acknowledging the loss of precious lives, but also about recognizing the systemic failures that have contributed to these tragedies.

Our unhoused neighbors face unimaginable risks every day – from exposure to violence and the elements, to untreated addiction and mental illness, and the burden of chronic health conditions with limited access to healthcare. These challenges, compounded by the trauma of living without stable housing, create a cycle of despair that is difficult to break.

As a community that values equity and human rights, we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of our most vulnerable members. We must confront the uncomfortable truths about homelessness and work together to address its root causes.

But amidst the sorrow, there is also hope. Hope in the resilience of the human spirit, and the power of collective action. Hope in the compassion and generosity of our community members who are willing to extend a helping hand to those in need.

Now more than ever, we must come together to care for our neighbors. We must advocate for policies that prioritize affordable housing, access to healthcare, and comprehensive support services for individuals experiencing homelessness. We must challenge the stigma and discrimination that too often prevent our unhoused neighbors from receiving the assistance and empathy they deserve.

Together, we can create a community where every individual is valued, supported, and empowered to live with dignity and hope. Let us honor the memories of those we have lost by committing ourselves to building a future where homelessness is not just a crisis to be managed, but an injustice to be eradicated.

In solidarity and compassion,


James Chiselom

Executive Director

Lawrence Community Shelter


Lacee Roe

Director of Community Engagement

Lawrence Community Shelter