CORONER: Louisville homeless man's death 'related to the cold' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CORONER: Louisville homeless man's death 'related to the cold'

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A funeral service was held Thursday for a homeless man whose death, the coroner says, "was related to the cold."

The Jefferson County Coroner's Office says Kenny Winfield died last week in front of the St. John Center for Homeless Men, mere steps from help.

"It was our responsibility to conduct an autopsy and determine a cause of death, which was related to the cold," said Buddy Dumeyer, chief deputy coroner.

Dumeyer says any person who passes away in Louisville without the resources to be buried is still treated with the dignity he or she deserves.

"This is very unique to Louisville,"
Dumeyer said. "There is no other city where someone passes away on the street or dies homeless is provided with a dignified burial and prayer service."

It's much more common that people realize. Dumeyer said that in 2005, 65 people passed away without any resources. Last year, 320 people passed away without the resources.

There were well over 100 people at today's funeral.

"And that's why Mayor Fischer talks about Louisville being the most compassionate city," Dumeyer said. "Well, it is the most compassionate city, but it's not just what we do for them in life, it's also what we do for them in death."

That said, Dumeyer says the community still has challenges to overcome when it comes to helping the homeless come in from the cold.

"We need to make them visible by reaching out to those people and make a conscious effort to let them know that, 'You do matter,' not only in death, but more importantly, in life," Dumeyer said.

Anyone interested in helping with the burial program should contact the coroner's office at (502) 574-6596.

"This has become a community effort," Dumeyer added. "No one could have told me nine years ago this would have expanded this way. No one does it like Louisville does."

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