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Organizers Call For More Support For Homeless Veterans At Egan Remembrance Vigil

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Melorie Begay
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People shield their candles against cold winds at Major Thomas Egan's candlelight vigil. Egan died after spending the night in freezing temperatures in 2008.

About a dozen people gathered in the rain to honor Major Thomas Egan, tonight. It’s been ten years since the homeless veteran’s death, and organizers say more needs to be done for people like him. 

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Credit Egan Warming Center
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Standing under a small pop up tent, Shelley Corteville, director of the Egan Warming Centers, said that on the way to the candlelight vigil she saw homeless people huddled under an overpass trying to stay warm.

“It’s hard to imagine if you’ve not been soaking wet, out in the cold, just trying to make it,” she said. 
 
Corteville, a homeless veteran herself, said ideally the warming centers would open when temperatures are over 29 degrees. However, the center doesn't have enough funding, space, or volunteers.
 
According to the latest U.S. Housing and Urban Development homelessness report, Oregon is 1 of only 5 states that’s seen an increase of homeless veterans since last year.  

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.
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